NK turn­ing to sports for for­eign cur­rency

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL - By Rachel Lee rachel@ktimes.com

North Korea has drawn up mea­sures to ac­quire for­eign cur­ren­cies amid harsher sanc­tions im­posed by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for its nu­clear provo­ca­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to DPR Korea Tour, the coun­try’s Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s web­site, the North will hold a marathon in au­tumn for the first time. The marathon and shorter events will take place in Py­ongyang, Oct. 29.

The marathon is part of the reclu­sive coun­try’s ef­forts to earn hard cur­rency: North Korea has re­leased other tour pack­ages with var­i­ous themes, in­clud­ing surf­ing, bik­ing and ski­ing.

The web­site said: “Un­like the 28th Mangy­ong­dae Prize In­ter­na­tional Marathon, which was held in the spring this year with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of nu­mer­ous pro­fes­sional and ama­teur marathon­ers, the forth­com­ing au­tumn marathon is ar­ranged for the first time for am­a­teurs, thus draw­ing great in­ter­est from en­thu­si­asts at home and abroad.”

About 1,100 run­ners from 50 coun­tries par­tic­i­pated in the Mangy­ong­dae Marathon on April 9, North Korean me­dia re­ported.

Par­tic­i­pants in the au­tumn event will com­pete in the marathon, half marathon, 10-kilo­me­ter and five-kilo­me­ter races, run­ning along the ma­jor streets of Py­ongyang, ac­cord­ing to the DPR Korea Tour.

Travel agen­cies spe­cial­iz­ing in North Korea tours, in­clud­ing Uri Tours and Young Pi­o­neer Tours, re­leased marathon-themed pack­ages a few months ago. Uri Tours’ eight-day pro­gram cost $2,650.

Be­sides such sports events, North Korea is try­ing to draw for­eign in­vest­ment.

A North Korean travel agency spe­cial­iz­ing in Mount Geum­gang posted an in­vest­ment guide on its web­site on Mon­day in­tro­duc­ing plans to build a 12-story ho­tel with 250 rooms in Kum­gang County, Kang­won Prov­ince.

The guide stated that ei­ther a joint ven­ture or a sin­gle for­eign com­pany would be wel­comed, and the in­vestor would have the right to build the ho­tel within two years and op­er­ate it for 30. The agency said it was in the ini­tial stages of ex­am­in­ing the in­vest­ment scale and prof­itabil­ity.

Ear­lier last month af­ter the North’s sixth nu­clear test, the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil unan­i­mously adopted a res­o­lu­tion to ban ex­ports of North Korean tex­tiles and re­strict the use of North Korean work­ers over­seas, cut­ting key sources of for­eign cur­rency rev­enue for the Kim Jong-un regime.

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