News / Asia

Swiss Ban 'Inappropriate' Ski Lifts for North Korea

Tens of thousands of North Koreans celebrate construction of the massive Masik ski resort at a rally at Kim Il Sung Square on Pyongyang, June 14, 2013.
Tens of thousands of North Koreans celebrate construction of the massive Masik ski resort at a rally at Kim Il Sung Square on Pyongyang, June 14, 2013.
Reuters
Switzerland has banned the sale to North Korea of equipment for a luxury ski resort planned for the ruling elite in the widely impoverished state that is under U.N. sanctions, officials said on Monday.
 
North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, who studied under an assumed name in the Swiss capital Berne and is believed to have gone on school ski trips in the Alps, wants to develop leisure activities for tourists and the upper crust among its 23 million citizens.
 
North Korea approached several Swiss companies, including Bartholet Maschinenbau AG, to provide chair lifts and cable cars worth 7 million Swiss francs ($7.57 million) for its sprawling Masik resort, the Geneva daily Le Temps reported on Monday.
 
But the Swiss government, contacted by the companies for clearance, added luxury sporting equipment to its list of goods banned under United Nations sanctions, Marie Avet of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), said.
 
“The Federal Council decided on July 3 to also put infrastructure for sports facilities on the list, especially when they have a more luxury character for resorts,” Avet told Reuters. “These resorts have a luxury character, that is why it is not appropriate to export.”
 
The neutral country's sanctions list for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) also includes equipment for golf, horseback riding, water sports, billiards and casinos, as well as luxury watches, jewelry, caviar, perfume and artworks.
 
Almost one-third of North Korean children are stunted due to malnutrition, the U.N.'s World Food Program says. The U.N. secretary-general has appealed for funding for food, health care and sanitation to millions of North Koreans.
 
Reclusive North Korea is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and missile weapons programs.
 
A North Korean diplomat in Geneva said on Monday that it was aware of the Swiss decision but had no other information.
 
Rival South Korea will hosting the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang in 2018. North Korea said on Sunday it had accepted Seoul's offer to hold working-level talks on resuming reunions of families separated by the Korean War.
 
Water Parks and rollercoasters
 
North Korea's envoy in Switzerland, So Se Pyong, told a rare news conference in Geneva on July 10 that economic development “to increase the people's livelihood” is a priority for Pyongyang under Kim, who is about 30-years-old.
 
“We built many, such as water parks, and [despite being in] the difficult position, we built water parks for people and rollercoasters for children,” So told reporters.
 
“We are now building a ski resort also for the tourist places in Wonsan area. So this is for the people,” he said.
 
Kim, who succeeded his late father in 2011, toured the country's east coast in May in a 95-foot luxury yacht - something that could be banned under sanctions, according to a website that tracks North Korean events.
 
Sanctions aimed at crimping the lifestyle of the elite were first imposed in 2006 but until March the resolutions had never given examples of such goods, leaving it up to individual countries to decide what constituted a luxury product.
 
In 2009, Austrian and Italian authorities seized two luxury yachts that had been sold to North Korea.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid