North Korea's Kim Jong Un Loves Water Parks and Wants Visitors

RTS12HR0
People enjoy the Munsu water park in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 16. Damir Sagolj/Reuters

North Korea wants to help you to cool off this summer.

Pyongyang's state-run news outlet, the Korean Central News Agency, has recently been advertising some of the country's water parks in hopes of attracting tourists, The Korea Herald reported Friday. One of the selling points? The parks are allegedly personally approved by leader Kim Jong Un.

Related: Even Kim Jong Un’s wife came out of hiding to celebrate North Korea’s missile test

The TV promotions have focused on the Taedong River Cruise, which has a beer festival; Kaeson Youth Park, which Kim has visited five times; and Munsu Water Park, which opened four years ago, Chosun TV reported.

Munsu Water Park is actually the newest in the country, boasting 14 water slides and covering more than 109,000 square meters. Munsu debuted in 2013 after being inspected by Kim himself: The dictator walked through the park's indoor pool area, said he liked the pictures of seagulls, commented on the incline of the floors and praised the paint colors before giving the park the go-ahead, according to the KCNA.

At the time it opened, American media outlets decried Munsu as "creepy" and "dystopian" (after all, there is a life-size statue of Kim's dad in the lobby).

But jokes aside, they made a serious point: Kim's objective in building the extravagant park was likely to show off his greatness to foreign leaders amid reports that many of his people are living in poverty and going hungry.

That theme was reflected in a speech given by Pak Pong Ju, the country's premier, upon Munsu's opening in 2013. After thanking the engineers who created the park, according to KCNA, he "stressed the need for officials and employees of the water park to serve the people in the spirit of devoted service to them and take good care of all facilities so as to glorify forever Kim Jong Un’s leadership exploits."

Other amusement-type projects may have the same intent. This past January, for example, workers from North Korea finished building a water park in Russia. KCNA later said it was supposed to be "symbolic of the goodwill between" the two and "actively contribute to the promotion of the welfare of the people."

Editor's Pick