North Korea's Kim mobilises young labourers in new housing plan amid economic woes
North Korea's Kim mobilises young labourers in new housing plan amid economic woes
North Korea's Kim mobilises young labourers in new housing plan amid economic woes
by DZRH News26 February 2023
FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Samjiyon City, North Korea in this undated photo released on November 16, 2021 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has mobilised young labourers to launch a new housing project in Pyongyang, state media said on Sunday, as he pushes for an ambitious plan to build 50,000 homes in the capital despite deepening economic hardships.

Kim attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction project in Pyongyang's Sopo district on Saturday with thousands of young labourers, the official KCNA news agency reported.

In 2021, Kim unveiled a plan to build 50,000 new homes in Pyongyang by 2025, and state media reported the completion of the first 10,000 new apartments last year, including a 80-floor skyscraper.


The plan came after South Korea warned of a deepening food crisis in the isolated North amid sanctions over its weapons programmes and the fallout from COVID-19 lockdowns, including a recent surge in deaths from starvation in some countryside regions.

North Korea has not confirmed any food shortages but the ruling party has scheduled a meeting for late February to discuss agricultural development, calling it a "very important and urgent task."

Kim has said the housing projects faces "unprecedentedly harsh challenges." He mobilised the young labour units, called dolgyeokdae or "Shock Brigade," in his pet infrastructure initiatives which have often faced lacklustre progress amid resources shortages, including a massive housing campaign in the northern alpine town of Samjiyon.

In Sopo, he aims to create a "distinctive street" with about 4,100 homes, in addition to a recently launched drive for 10,000 apartments, Kim said, thanking some 100,000 young men who volunteered to join the plans.


The new housing project would serve as "another proud page in the history of youth movements" and a symbol of the country's socialist revolution and "political struggle," Kim said.

"The distinctive architectures of this street will intuitively show our nation's status and rapid development," Kim said, accompanied by his young daughter who has appeared recently in a series of major events.

"It will clearly prove it to the world how our movement and struggle are advancing and developing and how vigorously they are expanding even in the face of the most arduous trials and difficulties," he added.


(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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