Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

Book Now, Book Early!


Now that the concrete edifice of the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang has been replaced with glass (by Orascom, the Egyptian telecommunications company which also kitted-out the electrics and communication system), I would say it has lost much of the air of awful fascination which brought the accolade “worst building in the history of mankind” (although, with the above animation by Demolition S in mind, I still have in my mind a hovercar carrying Rick Deckard to the top).

After [another] false start earlier this year, from the Guardian, we are told that it finally finally is set to open.

Next year.



And hopefully, with better Korean-to-English translation software than that used by the first responder to this Guardian poll:


02 November 2012 11:41

I welcome the opportunity that you can stay in the most valuable in the world, made ​​by the workers in the great and glorious people of exceptional architecture as a good opportunity to file a complaint with the unscrupulous South Korea

Koryo Tours – founded by British expat wideboy entrepreneur, Nick Bonner; who also has a sideline in directing romantic comedies set in the Hermit Kingdom – is organizing tours to this “enigmatic and oddly iconic” 105 storey building.

For the sake of every foreign investor’s bank balance, I hope they have taken sufficient precautions lest they wish to end-up like everyone else who have put their faith in the integrity of Juche debtors.


This is How Wars Start


In perhaps the most serious armed confrontation between North and South Korea since the Gangneung Submarine Incident in 1996, the DPRK has been blamed formally for the sinking in March of the Cheonan, a ROK warship in the Yellow Sea. Forty-six sailors died.

With absolutely no desire to justify myself to latter-day animists (aka conspiracy theorists), the evidence of handwritten Korean script on a recovered torpedo fragment pointed to the Hermit Kingdom which is the only country to mark torpedos as such (and the fragment was consistent with known DPRK torpedos). Other pointers included a visit to senior Chinese Government officials by Kim Jong-Il; his first foreign trip in four years which, unlike the last time, was publicized during and not afterwards.

(Although he may have been reassuring Hu Jintao that, unlike the previous deal for use of the Rajin port which was renaged on, this time it is for real.)

Even though US/ROK joint Naval exercises have been announced, the DPRK has in the past consistently wriggled out of negative consequences for its revolting behaviour (distinct from negative consequences for Koreans north of the 38th). There are very few people in the world whose deaths I would actively welcome, but the death of Kim Jong-Il appears to be essential to solving this.

In other news – with Diner Number One’s taste for rabbits and, like Jabba the Hut, live fish – anyone up for elephant curry?

UPDATE 26 May Rather than kidnap ROK representatives at Kaesong Industrial Complex, the Pyongyang has expelled eight and announced its intention to shoot any loudspeakers installed to broadcast propaganda messages.

UPDATE 27 May Pyongyang has scrapped reciprocal arrangements and telephone hotline with Seoul to avoid accidental naval clashes, as joint US/ROK exercises continue.

1990 Burmese General Election Annulled



Alex Salmond and Ieuan Wyn Jones have continued their Violet Elizabeth Bott routine over failure to be included in three head-to-head televised leadership debates in the run-up to the General Election by writing a letter to the Director General of the BBC.

It is, we are told, a breach of human rights (that of “the people” of Scotland/Wales, not theirs: they are far too humble to make it about themselves).

Meanwhile, the aspic-preserved State Peace and Development Council in Burma have annulled the results of the 1990 General Election which the National League for Democracy is assumed to have won. In advance of new polls anticipated this year, the SPDC has banned senior NLD figures, including its incareated leader, Aung San Suu Kyi from participated; as well as announcing that they will hand-pick members of the Electoral Commission.