North Korea To Turn Grimy Port City Into Beach Resort

Wonsan Beach, North Korea
(stephan), Flickr

Hot on the heels of the Hermit Kingdom building a ski resort out of spite comes news that North Korea is developing a beach resort in a heavily industrialized and militarized bay on the Sea of Japan.

According to a declassified report obtained by South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo, the naval city of Wonsan is being developed into a tourist resort. It current hosts a naval base and numerous heavy industry factories, but has apparently long been a favorite holiday destination of the ruling Kim family.

Viewed in the context of other wacky and nonsensical North Korean projects, building a beach resort in a polluted, industrialized and militarized bay seems about par for the course. But contrary to the perceived isolation of the country, North Korea does welcome several thousand tourists every year, and the Kim regime is certainly aware of the financial incentives of increased tourism. Only a few weeks ago did the country open up a city on the border with China to Western visitors.

But North Korea isn’t going to replace Cancun anytime soon. The development project seems to be stuck while the country seeks $1 million of international investment, which will almost certainly run afoul of current UN sanctions.