Mass mobilization for Wonsan-Kalma Coastal Tourist Zone project continues

Kim Jong Un during a visit to the Wonsan-Kalma Tourist Zone last month. Image: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the Wonsan-Kalma Coastal Tourism Zone to finish construction by April 15 next year. The order has led to the ongoing mobilization of local residents and resources to finish the coastal road connecting Kalma Airport and the Wonsan Harbor surroundings, North Korean sources report.

“There was a rally held recently for construction workers to promote the completion of the coastal road, which is part of the broader Wonsan-Kalma Coastal Tourist Zone’s development plans, by next April,” said a Daily NK source last Thursday who had recently visited Kangwon Province. “The construction shock troops and laborers are working until late at night to complete the construction of the road.”

“Teams made up of women are supplying gravel for the road’s foundations, and local residents are being mobilized for the construction projects,” he continued, adding that despite the cold weather, “they are keeping warm by working on the road’s construction.”

Kim Jong Un said during a visit to the site in May that the construction material production sector and all other related sectors must boost production to ensure sufficient resources to prevent construction delays.

“Wonsan residents are busy working on the road construction and have to give a lot to the state, but they are hopeful that when the city is completed they won’t have financial worries anymore,” the source said.

The completion of the Wonsan-Kalma Coastal Tourism Zone is being welcomed by local residents because it means they might find more opportunities for business with the influx of tourists, and receive other important benefits.

There are rumors, for example, that “Wonsan resident cards” will be issued to local residents when the zone is completed. No official announcement has yet been made by the North Korean authorities.

While the issuance of such cards would limit the movement of local residents, it would also allow them to potentially receive support from the authorities for housing or employment by foreign-currency earning enterprises.

“The construction of the coastal zone includes participation by the Cabinet and central government organizations, along with construction shock troops and other workers recruited nationwide,” a source in Kangwon Province reported.

“All of the construction equipment used in the construction projects is new, so the progress is fast. Locals say that it will be possible to finish the road construction by April next year.”

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Kang Mi Jin
Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.