SEOUL, April 4 (UPI) -- North Korea's Kim Jong Un visited Samjiyon County for the first time in 2019, weeks after the regime called for a "phase two" in the development of the area near Mount Paektu. He slammed international sanctions while providing field guidance.
Pyongyang's Workers' Party paper Rodong Sinmun reported Thursday Kim said the construction at Samjiyon is likely to "come together on the appointed day."
Kim inspected the area adjacent to Mount Paektu in 2018. His visit in October was publicized through more than 40 photographs of him at the snow-covered site. He also visited Samjiyon in July and October to provide "field guidance."
The North Korean leader has said Samjiyon should be transformed into a "mountain culture city" that is also an example of a "socialist utopia." Samjiyon and North Korea's Wonsan-Kalma tourist zone have been prioritized in Kim's plan to rebuild North Korea.
During his field guidance visit, Kim took the opportunity to condemn sanctions.
The Samjiyon construction is "a class struggle, a political struggle against the hostile forces who are hanging on to North Korea sanctions," Kim said.
South Korean news service Tongil News reported shock brigade troops of Division 216 have been mobilized for construction at the site. The project is being described as a "tremendous creative battle being carried out fiercely despite the vicious sanctions of hostile forces," according to the report.
Defectors in South Korea have said the regime mobilizes soldiers and civilians on national construction projects. The policy has been criticized for possible human rights violations.
In Seoul on Thursday, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party criticized the administration of President Moon Jae-in for neglecting North Korea human rights, News 1 reported.
Rep. Kang Hyo-sang, a conservative, said the Moon administration had decreased the budget for North Korea human rights initiatives in 2019 by 50 percent since 2014.