Switzerland has decided to block a deal to sell ski lifts to North Korea, and the secretive communist regime has reacted angrily.
The Swiss government says the equipment fall under the category of luxury goods and therefore subject to UN sanctions.
The Skiers’ Association in North Korea said the lifts should not be banned, issuing a statement that said the resort was aimed at giving its people “highly civilised and happy living conditions and make them enjoy all blessings.” It added that the “Cableway equipment for the ski resort do not produce any rocket or nuclear weapon.”
The equipment was for the Masik ski resort project, currently under construction. It is believed to be a pet project of leader Kim Jong-un, who evidently skied when he attended secondary school in Bern under an assumed name.
Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) called the resort a “”prestigious propaganda project for the regime”. It is widely viewed as a response to South Korea hosting the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Seco spokeswoman Marie Avet said, “It is inconceivable that this resort will be used by the general public.”
This is the third time a ski lift deal has fallen through for the North Koreans due to sanctions. Austrian and French companies have already turned down deals due to political reasons. Image/Reuters