Lifestyle & Belief

Switzerland blocks deal to sell ski lifts to North Korea


Kim Jong Un visits the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in North Korea's western sector near the disputed maritime frontier with South Korea in this undated photo.



North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s latest pet project, a luxury ski resort in the country’s northeast, has face-planted after Switzerland blocked a deal to sell mechanical chair lifts and cable cars to Pyongyang, media reports said Monday.

The deal, reportedly worth 7 million Swiss francs, is in breach of the Swiss government’s recently expanded sanctions against the Stalinist regime.

“This is obviously a prestigious propaganda project for the regime," said Marie Avet, spokeswoman for Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.

"It is inconceivable that this resort will be used by the general public.”

The Swiss government therefore "considers it inappropriate for Swiss companies to participate in such projects," she said.

The BBC said the failed deal with Swiss company Bartholet Maschinenbau is the third to fall foul of sanctions after Austrian and French manufacturers also turned down the chance to sell ski lifts to the hermit kingdom.

Kim Jong Un will no doubt be miffed at the project's latest setback.

The chubby leader, who reportedly learned to ski on the slopes of Switzerland during his secondary school days in the Alpine country, has been heavily promoting the ski resort project, which features more than 100 kilometers of ski runs, a hotel, heliport and cable car.

More from GlobalPost: North Korea agrees to family reunions with the South

#next_pages_container { width: 5px; hight: 5px; position: absolute; top: -100px; left: -100px; z-index: 2147483647 !important; }