Ryugyong Hotel, the 105-storey triangular monstrosity that looms over North Korean capital Pyongyang like a prop from a 1970s sci-fi B-movie, is to be opened to the public next year, only 26-years after construction first began, courtesy of German luxury hotel chain Kempinski.
The 105-story, pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel, whose foundations were poured almost three decades ago, will open partially in July or August, German luxury-hotel operator Kempinski AG Chief Executive Officer Reto Wittwer said today at a forum in Seoul. Kempinski will be the first western hospitality service to operate in North Korea, he said.
“This pyramid monster hotel will monopolize all the business in the city,” Wittwer said. “I said to myself, we have to get this hotel if there is ever a chance, because this will become a money-printing machine if North Korea opens up.”
Egypt-based Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE is funding the remaining construction of the hotel as part of a $400 million mobile-phone license it won from the DPRK government in 2008.
While it seems from his statements on the matter that Wittwer has no moral problem doing business with a government which tortures and murders its own people, his company will nevertheless have to carefully negotiate the raft of international sanctions against doing business with the North Korean regime. If any profits from the redevelopment of Ryugyong can be shown to be funding the North Korean nuclear program both Orascom and Kampinski could face international legal prosecution.
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