When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un showed off his country’s newest building he failed to mention that it seems its chief architect was executed because Kim didn’t like the design. North Korea’s propaganda machine has spent days promoting a new airport in Pyongyang, showcasing the building’s sleek glass walls and espresso stations.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency published a 30-photo slide show last week of Kim Jong Un and his wife touring a two story international terminal in Pyongyang’s airport.
The project is the country’s latest bid to appeal to potential tourists since Kim ascended to power in North Korea three years ago and features a jewellery store, coffee bar, a pharmacy, a chocolate fountain and other luxury amenities.
Ma Won Chun, who was North Korea’s director of the Designing Department of the National Defence Commission until he vanished last year, was noticeably absent from the press photos.
Chun was the chief architect behind North Korea’s biggest government projects when he, along with five other high-level officials, were reportedly killed during one of Kim’s purges.
Ma was executed in November 2014 “for corrupt practices and failure to follow orders,” according to the Diplomat, a news outlet that covers the Asia Pacific.
His death coincided with a report explaining that airport renovations were being suspended because of Kim’s dissatisfaction.