North Korea’s plan to build 100,000 households in Pyongyang as part of the “strong and prosperous state” has been reduced to one fourth of its original scale, according to various reports.
A South Korean government source revealed the news on the 20th, saying, “The plan to increase the number of households by 100,000 was not working so, in April, the target number was reduced to 20–25,000. The plan to increase the number of households in Mankyungdae by 30,000 was discarded entirely and only 20-25,000 homes are to be built in Yongseong, Seopo and Yeokpo districts.”
Having launched the grand building project in 2009, North Korea was supposed to construct 100,000 houses in total before 2012, including 33,000 across Yongseong, Seopo and Yeokpo districts by 2010 and 30,000 in Mangyongdae by this year, then another 35,000 by late April, 2012.
However, the only construction that had taken place in Pyongyang as of December, 2010 was an apartment complex for artists in the center of the city (two buildings of 23 floors each, a total of 200 units) and another for cadres in the Haebangsan district (seven buildings with between 9 and 14 floors each).
Now, faced by the prospect of failure, North Korean officials are mobilizing civilians and the army to aid in the construction effort.
An inside source explained, “Construction started last month on Changjeon Street, where the Kim Il Sung statue is located, using mobilized soldiers, and those who had been mobilized for the Hyungjaesan construction site were moved to Changjeon Street. In central locations like Mansudae construction absolutely must be completed, but the people are complaining a lot since people mobilized from other areas are moving in.“
“In the Hyungjaesan, Seopo and Hadang districts, the military was mobilized and the buildings were completed, so in August people will be able to move in. However, the construction inside these buildings was poorly done, so people are not intending to do so.”
Another source agreed, saying, “The houses that have been finished in downtown Pyongyang are being assigned, but many of those apartments are only shells. People are complaining about houses being left without plaster.”
A lack of cement and other raw materials obviously leaves a risk of further delays, sources also agree.
One such source stated, “The state is not providing sufficient materials or cement. Only those areas that have mobilized army soldiers are progressing, while others have not risen off the ground.”
This could be a threat to the system since the success of the strong and prosperous state is all part and parcel of efforts to justify the right to implement the third generation succession. However, the blame will not be allowed to extend to him.
“There is propaganda that heralds Kim Jong Eun as the creator of these initiatives, and the fact that their overall scale continues to shrink makes it difficult for people to believe in this legacy. However, another official will take the blame,” an anonymous expert concurred.