A man walks past a television report showing a news broadcast with file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
In Photos: Kim Jong Un Oversees As North Korea Test Fires New ICBM Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been touring the new luxury apartment complex that was built over the residence of his grandfather Kim Il Sung. The luxury villas are set to open on April 15, to coincide with his grandfather’s birth anniversary.

According to 38 North, satellite imagery of the Pyongyang luxury infrastructure shows the leader’s grand plan to build some 50,000 apartments over the next five years. A year ago, external construction work started in the Sadong district and appears to be near completion. Although it is not yet clear if the housing project will entail further construction for interior work as satellite images show the continued presence of workers in the complex.

Reports are still trying to make sense if the housing complex will be fully furnished as Kim Jong-un ordered it to be ready for occupancy in the run-up to the Day of the Sun holiday over a week from now. This will serve as the highlight of the 110th birthday of Kim Il Sung as North Korean citizens hold on to this development as an example of Kim’s effort to erase his grandfather’s legacy. While North Korea typically shines on economic and industrial feats during holidays and anniversaries, such a display of grand projects is viewed to play a major role in the country’s propaganda.

Two other housing projects located in Pyongyang have not received much state media coverage although construction of these has well been underway for several months. The Taephong area project is located in the west of the city while another major housing development was launched by Kim in the northern part of the city.

Meanwhile, the new riverside apartments that have been constructed over the site of Kim Il Sung’s former residence is being referred to as “Mansion No. 5” by North Koreans. Pyongyang residents say these terraced homes are being touted as Kim’s vision of modern development even in the wake of rising poverty and hunger in the country.

These developments are key initiatives of Kim’s propaganda as the leader promises to provide “more cultured and stabler living conditions” for its people. He emphasized that the Sadong project is one of the most important promises of the Workers’ Party of Korea to his people. With progress seemingly swift in just its first two weeks of groundbreaking, several large apartments were already spotted. Within three months into construction, 34 apartments have been erected, including one building intended to rise up to 50 stories.

By February 2022, however, the building appeared to have nearly 80 floors making it the second tallest building in the country next to the Ryugyong Hotel.

On the other hand, many North Koreans have questioned the idea of building luxury villas over an important historical site, especially in a place where Kim Jong Il or Kim Jong-un only briefly visited. The tyrant leader responded to criticisms by explaining how much of a pity that he couldn't showcase such a historic place to the public by turning it into a revolutionary museum.

Sources said these luxurious residences overlooking the Potong River will house most of the high-ranking officials loyal to the leader.

Representation Image Giant Bronze Statues of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung Pyongyang Alex_Berlin/ Pixabay

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