Building fail sheds light on N. Korean priorities
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Pyongyang isn’t just any North Korean city. So when a 23-story apartment building under construction collapsed in the center of the showcase capital in May, officials faced a bona fide emergency.
Their response was in some ways predictable: a grudgingly slow and piecemeal confirmation, followed by scapegoating and spin. Three months later, they still refuse to give a death toll, saying only that it was “serious” and that leader Kim Jong Un “sat up all night, feeling painful after being told about the accident.”
But in a country where acknowledgment of failure is rare, experts say North Korea’s handling of the collapse also shines a light on how it is grappling with some deeper issues, including its image among foreign investors, the limits on its control over information and the need to address, at a public level.