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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Welcome to North Korea: Dear leader Kim tours new ‘International Children’s Camp’

Published 22/04/2014 | 08:25

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While his country issued an official warning to the US about the “dark clouds of a nuclear arms race”, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has let his hair down with a cheerful tour of a new public development.

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One of the more unlikely fixtures in the highly secretive and closed-off Communist state, the construction of the Songdowon International Children's Camp’s – to the highest of standards – has almost been completed.

It has been visited on a number of occasions throughout its construction by the leader, and pictures published in the ruling Workers Party’s newspaper Rodong Sinmum today showed Kim on a tour around jaunty pink bedrooms, an elaborate aquarium and various pristine sports arenas.

The pictures show a grinning Kim laughing along with his armed forces minister and vice-minister, Workers Party department director and deputy director and as well as a party finance director, according to the newspaper.

They appear significantly more secure in their jobs than the administrators who were last sacked or executed under Kim’s latest round of political purges.

As well as featuring prominently in the Rodong Sinmum, the images were released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Meanwhile, on Monday morning KCNA also carried reports of an official statement from the North Korean ministry, warning US President Barack Obama against his “reactionary and dangerous” trip to visit Japan and South Korea.

But a North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson said other recent Asia visits from US officials had tried to demonise the country’s nuclear and missile programmes and justify a growing US military presence in the region. He suggested that it was “as clear as noonday” that Mr Obama will do the same.

The statement described US-South Korean military exercises as being “held on a regular basis, getting increasingly large-scale and aimed at constantly keeping the DPRK on tenterhooks”. It said that the Obama tour was deliberately designed towards “the escalation of tensions in the volatile region”, and that it would “bring dark clouds of a nuclear arms race”.

The US said the President’s tour was to also include Malaysia and the Philippines, and that it was an important signal of support to all its allies across Asia.

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