SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has opened a science and technology complex in Pyongyang, the North's state media said on Saturday (Jan 2), adding another ostentatious building to the impoverished country's showcase capital.
His attendance at the ceremony on Friday marked his first public appearance since his New Year address, when he vowed to raise living standards in the struggling one-party Stalinist state.
Inspecting the complex, he said it was "a great centre" open to everybody for study and "for disseminating (the) latest science and technology in which the party's plan has been materialised", Pyongyang's KCNA news agency reported.
He said the completion of the complex was testimony to the great importance the Workers' Party of Korea attaches to the development of science and technology.
"It is the party's firm determination to ... advance the establishment of a rich and powerful fatherland through the locomotive of science and technology," Mr Kim said in his New Year's speech.
The complex is located on a "propitious site" near the Taedong River in the capital, Prime Minister Pak Pong Ju said during a speech at its opening ceremony.
Pyongyang's Korean Central TV broadcast footage of Mr Kim cutting the ribbon to the gleaming structure amid rapturous applause from thousands of participants gathered in front of the building, as balloons floated into the air and a band struck up a tune, "Happy Tomorrow".
He was filmed touring the building, which a TV commentator said was modelled on the structure of a nucleus.
A mock-up model of the North's Unha rocket that put a satellite into orbit in 2012 was on display in the complex.
Pyongyang has a myriad of monuments and pompous edifices of dubious purpose spawned by the personality cult of the ruling Mr Kim dynasty, for which money and resources have been syphoned from its thread-bare economy.