North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un seemingly missed his late father Kim Jong Il while providing a field guidance of popular tourist place Samjiyon county, where the country’s first ski resort has been built, according to state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim met students at Samjiyon Children’s Palace and overlooked the training of skiers on the Sajabong Sports Team. He also remembered his father during the visit.
“The snow is falling, like the day when the general [Kim Jong Il] parted forever in the midst of tears, our general, how much he would have liked to have seen the miracles being created on this land that he loved as much as his own kin,” Kim reportedly said.
North Korea has promoted skiing as a popular activity in Samjiyon in order to boost the isolated nation’s image as a tourist hub and increase hard currency for the government. The country has also relaxed travel restrictions for Chinese travelers and began allowing half-day tours to the Chinese nationals in the country since July without a passport.
According to the South China Morning Post, a number of Chinese people are flocking to North Korea. Beijing approved Pyongyang as a destination for its citizens in June 2008. Travelers are allowed to visit Pyongyang, Sinuiju, Kaesong and the North Korean border city of Rason. In 2015, about 90 percent of tourists to the reclusive state were Chinese, the Post reported.
Although Beijing is known to be an ally of Pyongyang, it is opposed to the latter’s nuclear ambitions. The North has carried out series of missile tests since the beginning of this year, drawing condemnation from world powers.
Last Friday, state-run Radio Pyongyang broadcast a series of cryptic numbers that were believed to be a coded message for its agents in rival South Korea, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Pyongyang had stopped such broadcasts after the North and the South held their first historic summit in 2000. But the Kim Jong Un-led country resumed sending out coded messages 16 years later — on July 2014.