Penthouses in North Korea are mainly for the unfortunate few

  • Some of North Korea’s rich wanted to live in a penthouse
  • Concerns about electricity and water supply keep them away
  • The uncertain operation of the lifts also prevents many
  • Leader Kim Jong Un reveals to you, skyscrapers build quality

SEOUL, April 15 – Living in a penthouse is a dream come true for people in many countries. In North Korea? Not too much.

President Kim Jong Un has been building exotic high-rise apartment buildings in the capital, Pyongyang, the most recently completed 80-story skyscraper this week.

But pessimists and other North Koreans say that hopeless elevators and worries about electricity, poor water supply and workmanship have historically led some people to live on top of such structures.

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“In North Korea, the poorer than the rich live in penthouses because the elevators often do not work properly and they cannot pump water at low pressure,” said 31-year-old Jung Si-woo. To neighboring South Korea in 2017.

In the north, he lived on the third floor of a 13-story building without an elevator, while a friend who lives on the 28th floor of a 40-story building said he did not use the elevator because it did not work.

When asked about the new 80-story skyscraper that opened this week, Jung said he thought Kim was just showing up.

“It shows how much their construction skills have improved, regardless of the residents’ preferences, ”the university student said.

North Korea is allocating housing to the socialist state by buying and selling technically illegal houses or apartments.

But experts say the practice has become increasingly common among those who have benefited from the proliferation of private markets under Kim. He has promised to improve the quality of construction and build tens of thousands of new apartments.

Its economy has been hit by COVID-19, self-imposed border closures against natural disasters and international sanctions against nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which the United States says excludes limited resources from meeting the needs of the population.

On Wednesday, state media reported the completion of 50,000 to 10,000 new apartments in Pyongyang, including the speed with which they will be completed, including the 80-story skyscraper.

The state news agency KCNA reports that workers’ “guarantee the quality of construction” and new apartments and other buildings for use in education, public health and welfare services will further help transform the capital into a “people-first” city.

State media on Thursday showed Kim opening another home cluster, this time for members of the elite, including the popular TV presenter.

They are low-rise buildings, each with only a few floors.


Electricity under Kim has improved significantly, creating some new nightlife opportunities, but North Korea is still struggling with shortages and sometimes poor infrastructure.

Many have sought out individual solar panels for mantras without electricity. It comes with consumer electronics small items, but can not lubricate facilities such as elevators and water supply.

Lee Chang-yong, editor-in-chief of the Seoul-based website Daily Nkai, which reports on North Korea, said his sources indicated that apartments for ordinary people were not ready to be inhabited.

The windows only had frames and water pipes, although installed, they did not work, but the recently completed luxury homes come complete with furniture and utensils.

To ensure the popularity of new high-rise apartments, North Korea must further improve its electricity and water supply and address concerns about the quality of construction, he said.

When Jung lived in Pyongyang, most elevators only worked twice a day, with most commuting hours from 6am to 8pm, the same time in the evening.

Low water pressure often forces people living on high floors to carry water from ground level to the upper floors, or install their own specialized pumping machines, he added.

During a major international media tour organized by the government in 2018, the elevator operated at the 47-storey Yangtze International Hotel, but dozens of sites where North Korean staff stayed were without electricity.

At the time, two North Korean officials told Reuters that there were some carriers on the upper levels of Mirae Scientists Street, one of Kim’s recently opened pet construction projects, due to concerns over the elevator.

“No one wants the risk of having to climb for an hour,” one said.

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Additional Report of Minwu Park; Written by Josh Smith; Editing Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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