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North Korea's military building 10,000 apartments, state media says

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (front) broke ground at a site in Pyongyang for apartment construction Tuesday. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (front) broke ground at a site in Pyongyang for apartment construction Tuesday. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

March 29 (UPI) -- Construction of 10,000 new apartment units is underway in the North Korean capital, and the military is involved in the efforts, according to North Korean state media.

Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Monday that the construction site is the locus of a new Pyongyang "speed," a word often used to refer to the regime's workforce and the allegedly fast pace in which work proceeds to achieve economic goals.

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State media also said the foundational work, including the laying of concrete, was achieved in a "short period of time."

"Without slowing the momentum, continuous innovation and progress has been achieved," the Rodong said.

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The newspaper mentioned the Kim Jong Nam, Ri Kum Song, Kim Jong Kuk and Hong In Ryol army units were involved in the construction.

North Korea's construction command said each unit is working around the clock to ensure daily, weekly and monthly schedules are being followed, according to the Rodong.

Kim Jong Un has stressed the importance of rejuvenating the national economy since assuming power, but recent events including natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic have crippled recovery.

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Sanctions mostly designed to curb nuclear weapons development also have been cited as a problem among analysts who say they hamper humanitarian efforts.

Kim broke ground at the Pyongyang site Tuesday. Last year, the North Korean leader promoted the building of a general hospital in the capital, but the project has not been mentioned in 2021. It remains unclear whether construction was completed on time.

The coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 2 million people worldwide has isolated North Korea.

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Daily NK reported Sunday the country's authorities have installed high-voltage wires to prevent movement across the border.

A source in North Korea told the South Korean news service that Kim Jong Un had said that the "pandemic is an invisible enemy and the border [with China] is the front line."

North Korea has not opened its borders to resume prepandemic levels of activity, according to South Korean press reports.

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