PICTURES

N. Korea to build 'world-class' ski resort before 2018 Winter Olympics: State Media

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has inspected work on a "world class" ski resort being built as rival South Korea prepares to host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, state media reported.

Mr Kim visited the construction site on Masik hill in the northeast of the country on Monday, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The resort, which could be operational by the end of the year, will boast 110 kilometres of multi-level ski runs, a hotel, heliport and cable cars, KCNA said.

During his inspection, Mr Kim said it was the firm determination of the ruling Workers' Party "to build the skiing ground into a world class one" and he urged workers to complete construction by the next winter season.

Praising the site chosen for the resort, the Swiss-educated Kim said it would be "more fantastic to see the ground covered with snow", KCNA reported.

The South Korean resort of Pyeongchang will host the 2018 Winter Olympics, and there has been speculation that the South and North might attempt to field a unified team.

The two nations marched together at the Summer Games in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004.

But as relations worsened, there was no joint march in Beijing in 2008 or at the London Olympics in 2012.