Kim orders changes to new airport to avoid 'copying': State media

Kim orders changes to new airport to avoid 'copying': State media
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un holds up his ballot during the fifth session of the 12th Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang in this April 13, 2012 file photo released by the North's KCNA on April 14, 2012.

SEOUL - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered changes to the design of Pyongyang's new international airport to reflect the country's socialist ideology after saying the layout looked like "a copy" of a foreign facility, state media reported Saturday.

Kim called a halt on work on Terminal 2 at Pyongyang International Airport after inspecting the construction site, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

He reproached workers for failing to carry out his earlier order in July that the project should reflect North Korea's "Juche" (self-reliance) philosophy and national identify.

North Korean architecture is characterised by its monumental but drab socialist style incorporating propaganda symbols of the communist state.

Kim said there were "deviations in the interior layout including halls for check-in and departure and service network" and other facilities were not distributed to match the space of the terminal, KCNA said.

If construction continued in that way, it may be "a copy" of the terminal of an unidentified foreign country, it quoted Kim as saying.

"When we build even a single structure, we should do in such a way as to ensure that our style, our characteristic feature and national identity are preserved.

"It is necessary to finish the construction of the terminal to be an icon of Songun (military-first) Korea, the face of the country and the gateway to Pyongyang", Kim said.

He instructed officials "to stop for the time being the finishing project of the interior now under way, examine layout designs and complete the modified ones".

Following Kim's instructions in July 2012, North Korea has been building a new airport terminal at Sunan airport as the existing terminal is too small and shabby compared with foreign ones.

The new terminal is six times larger than the old one, but it remains unclear how North Korea will be able to generate passenger numbers that would justify such expenditure.

The Stalinist state remains one of the world's least-visited countries.

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