The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, located in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering South Korea and China. Its capital, Pyongyang, is the country's largest city by both land area and population. It is a single-party state led by the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), and governed by Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un since 2012. It has a population of 24,052,231 (UN-assisted DPRK census 2008) made up of Koreans and a smaller Chinese minority. Japan 'opened' Korea in 1876 and annexed it in 1910. The Republic of Korea (ROK) was founded with US support in the south in August 1948 and the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north in September that year.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hails 'impeccable' new Masik Pass ski resort
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visited a newly completed ski resort yesterday and ordered officials to open his pet project to the public as soon as possible, state media reported.
Kim took a test ride on a ski lift at the Masik Pass Ski Resort, which he said during a visit two weeks ago was "at the centre of the world's attention", the Korean Central News Agency said.
He noted "with great satisfaction" that everything was "impeccable" and gave instructions to serve the people well so that visitors may "keenly feel the loving care of the party".
Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, told officials to hold the opening ceremony at the earliest possible date, KCNA said.
The ski resort, in which the military played a leading role, was described by KCNA as a "great monumental structure in the era of Songun", referring to the state's "military first" policy. Kim was accompanied by top military leaders and, conspicuously, Pak Myong-Chol, a top sports official known to be associated with Kim's uncle who was executed earlier last month.
Jang Song-thaek, Kim's political mentor, was put to death in a shock purge on charges including corruption and plotting to overthrow the state.
The purge was the biggest political upheaval since Kim, aged around 30, took power after the death of his father and longtime ruler, Kim Jong-Il, in December 2011.
The Masik Pass Ski Resort made headlines in August when Switzerland blocked a US$7.6 million sale of ski lifts to Pyongyang, calling it a "propaganda project" for the impoverished Stalinist regime.
Featuring 110 kilometres of multi-level ski runs, a hotel, heliport and cable cars, the resort has been heavily promoted since Kim visited it in June and called for construction to be completed by the end of the year.
The young leader has shown a fondness for expensive, high-profile leisure projects in and around Pyongyang, including a huge new water park, an amusement park and a luxury horse- riding club.
He was photographed riding a roller coaster in the Rungna amusement park in the showpiece capital when it reopened in July 2012 following renovations which he had ordered.
Watch: Video of North Korea ski resort