[imText1]A newly established website, showcasing photographs and videos featuring the four seasons at Mt. Baekdu in North Korea, has attracted much attention.
A Hyundai-Asan direct-line tour to Mt. Baekdu is expected to commence in May; details of the tour along with a map of the area can be accessed on the featured corner link of the new “Ryomyong” homepage (http://www.ryomyong.com), established by North Korea’s “Pyongyang June 15 IT Company.”
The site also offers a selection of North Korean publications and artwork for international sale as well as a link where related industries can register their trademarks for circulation within North Korea.
After accessing the featured link on the homepage labeled “Mt. Baekdu tours have begun! Mt. Baekdu, where the spirit of the people runneth over” and clicking on the “View Map”, visitors can view the layout of the entire area surrounding Mt. Baekdu, which is said to have originated from the heavens and earth. Clicking on specific locations labeled on the map, such as Janggoon Peak (2,750m AMSL) and Hyangdo Peak (2,712m AMSL), will allow visitors to view photographs of the location in all four seasons and pictures of the facilities in the area.
In particular, you can see the idolizing inscription, ‘Jong Il Peak’ in red lettering, alongside images of the billeting place, the log cabin headquarters, and a monument for Kim Jong Il engraved with a poem written by Kim Il Sung.
In 1984, the North Korean government officially declared the billeting place at Mt. Baekdu the birthplace of Kim Jong Il. In February 1987, a log cabin was erected there and the site was declared sacred ground. Kim Il Sung himself named the mountain “Jong Il Peak,” carved the name into granite, and raised the stone at the summit.
By clicking on the “View Photos”, visitors to the site can enjoy a preview of the Mt. Baekdu landscape in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Also, a link for “Play Movie” will open film footage of the four seasons on the mountain, inhabiting plant species and wild life, and a segment on the formation of Mt. Baekdu.
The connection time for accessing the links, however, is considerable and somewhat inconvenient.
Besides the Mt. Baekdu featured corner, the ‘Ryomyong’ homepage posts for sale through the internet paintings of North Korean artists and various publications dealing with the idolization of the Kim father and son, including “The Complete Works of Kim Il Sung,” “The Selected Works of Kim Jong Il,” and “Together with this Century.”
Also on the site, related corporations are registering their trademarks with the North Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation and conducting business that will enable them to use their trademarks in North Korea. At this time, only North-South collaborating enterprise Peace Auto and North Korea’s Trade and Manufacturing Enterprise have registered their trademarks on the site.
The North Korean government sees the establishment of a separate featured corner for Mt. Baekdu as a means of rallying interest from the local and neighboring international communities in preparation for the upcoming direct-line tours to Mt. Baekdu beginning in May. The Mt. Baekdu tours are expected to reap sizable profits and authorities are actively promoting the industry.
Already the North Korean authorities are said to be have begun leveling privately owned fields and forcibly relocating citizens from Hyesan of Yankang Province and the Samjiyeon to other areas in preparation for the Mt. Baekdu tours.
Daily NK quoted a source as relaying in February, “On January 23rd, 31 households were driven out of Hyesan of Yankang Province, and by the end of February, 84 households were removed.”