Jan. 10 (UPI) — North Korea invited South Korean reporters to Masikryong Ski Resort as the regime prepares to receive more foreign visitors.
A South Korean television crew from network SBS reported Friday North Korea is touting the resort as a foreign tourist destination. The crew included footage of the resort taken on Jan. 2, ahead of its opening on Wednesday, Jan. 8, which is believed to be Kim Jong Un‘s birthday.
The resort is located about 15 miles from the North Korean city of Wonsan, in Kangwon province. Masikryong covers an area of 5.4 square miles and includes 10 slopes, according to a North Korean guide who escorted SBS.
In the South Korean footage, the North Korean guide says renting skis cost about $40 for two hours. If visitors bring their own skis, they will pay “only about $10” for the use of the slopes, the guide says.
The North Korean guide can also be heard telling the SBS crew to “shoot this, accurately,” or otherwise instructing the South Koreans on how to portray the resort.
North Korea is permitting South Koreans to visit Masikryong for promotional purposes at a time when it has rejected working-level talks with Seoul.
Pyongyang’s snubs have not discouraged the South. On Thursday, Seoul said it would look into permitting South Korean civilian visits to the North if they secure North Korean tourist visas.
North Korea is also promoting its Yangdok hot springs resort in state media.
Propaganda service Meari said Friday the “sounds of happy laughter are ringing out” from Yangdok. North Korea could be promoting the hot springs to foreign tourists, according to South Korean press reports.
China is the most important source of North Korea tourism, which has become the focus of the regime under heavy sanctions.
On Friday, Voice of America reported satellite images indicate the New Yalu River Bridge between the two sides may have completed construction.
Kim has forged closer ties with Chinese leader Xi Jinping since 2018.