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Saturday, June 4, 2011

N. Korea launches city facelift to mark anniversary

North Korea said Friday it had launched a construction project to change the showcase capital "beyond recognition" in the run-up to the centenary of its founder's birth next year.

The massive construction will centre on the Mansudae area of Pyongyang where the giant statue of late president Kim Il-Sung stands, the official Korean Central News Agency said.It will include a "monumental edifice", high-rise apartment blocks, public buildings and cultural and leisure facilities including a round people's theatre facing the existing Mansudae Assembly Hall where parliament meets.A restaurant will also be built to face Pyongyang's famous Okryu Restaurant, along with a park.

The new construction will match existing monumental edifices dedicated to the memory of the founder and his Juche (self-reliance) ideology, the agency said."This will change the appearance of the capital city beyond recognition," it added.

The North in 2009 announced plans to build 100,000 new high-rise apartments in three districts of the capital to mark the 2012 anniversary.The latest project has been announced despite chronic food shortages in the impoverished communist state.

UN agencies say six million people, a quarter of the population, urgently need aid.The North has vowed to become a "great, powerful and prosperous nation" by next year, the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder who died in 1994.The country fosters an all-pervasive personality cult built around the late Kim and his son and current leader Kim Jong-Il.Kim Jong-Il is now grooming his own son Jong-Un as heir apparent.


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