SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Wednesday called for the construction of "world-class" structures, praising the speedy completion of his pet ski resort project.
"The construction sector should set up world-class structures ... and build many other structures that could contribute to improving the people's living conditions," Mr Kim said in a New Year message broadcast on state TV.
He praised soldiers and builders for setting up "numerous monumental structures" including the Masik Pass Ski Resort in a short period.
State media said the ski resort opened on Tuesday and Mr Kim visited to mark its completion, taking a ride on a ski lift. Thousands of North Korean soldiers had been mobilised to complete it by the end of last year.
The resort made headlines in August when Switzerland blocked a US$7.6 million (S$9.6 million) sale of ski lifts to Pyongyang, calling it a "propaganda project" for the impoverished Stalinist regime.
Featuring 110 kilometres of multi-level ski runs, a hotel, heliport and cable cars, the resort has been heavily promoted since Mr Kim visited it in June and called for construction to be completed by the end of the year.
"This year, too, the service personnel and people should make concerted efforts to build up Pyongyang so that it is more grandiose," Mr Kim said.
The young leader has shown a fondness for expensive, high-profile leisure projects in and around the showpiece capital Pyongyang including a massive new water park, an amusement park and a luxury horseback riding club.
The Munsu Water Park in Pyongyang opened in October to much fanfare, with the 109,000-square metre venue sporting dozens of indoor and outdoor pools, water slides and saunas.
Mr Kim in September also watched films at a new "4D" movie theatre built in the newly-renovated Rungna People's amusement park, state media reported earlier. He was photographed riding a roller coaster in the Rungna amusement park in Pyongyang when it reopened in July 2012 after renovations ordered by Mr Kim.