North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected a major housing construction site in the country’s capital, state media reported Wednesday, stepping up domestic activities amid the regime’s continued weapons launches threatening the security in the region.
The Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday said Kim visited the construction site of 10,000 apartments in Songsin and Songhwa districts of eastern Pyongyang that is nearing completion. Kim had attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the site last March.
“He noted with pleasure that the architecture of the country has developed onto a higher plane through the construction of 10,000 flats in the first year of implementing the five-year plan of capital city construction set forth at the Party Congress,” the KCNA said. “He stressed the need to take active measures for steadily building up the construction forces on a nationwide scale.”
Kim also called for the completion of the construction by the Day of the Sun, the North’s key political anniversary on April 15, the 110th birthday of state founder Kim Il-sung, the leader’s late grandfather.
The report added that the district features high-rises, including an 80-story skyscraper, public health, education and service facilities as well as several parks, overhead bridges and decorative structures of “peculiar styles.”
The KCNA did not specify when Kim visited the housing project site, but it usually publishes Kim’s activities a day after the event.
The housing development is part of a wider housing drive to build 50,000 new homes in Pyongyang before the end of 2025, or 10,000 units each year. The plan, which was announced at the eighth congress of the ruling Workers’ Party meeting last year, was in response to severe housing shortages in the country’s capital with a population of 3 million.
In February, Kim attended a groundbreaking ceremony of another site in the capital’s Hwasong area, which plans to build another 10,000 homes.
Kim’s visit to the construction site comes as the North continues to escalate tension with back-to-back missile launches. The state media’s report on Kim’s domestic activities is seen as the regime’s efforts to boast the government’s achievements before the major holiday and promote the leader’s endeavor to take care of people’s livelihoods.
On Wednesday, North Korea fired an “unidentified projectile” but the launch appears to have immediately failed shortly after it took off.
The launch would be the North’s 10th weapons launch this year, as the regime continues to ramp up missile tests in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.