Skift Take

Although you want to giggle at anything North Korea's leadership proposes, this airport is oddly free of freaky monuments to past leaders. And that's a good sign. But we wouldn't suggest you hold your breath for radical reform.

In yet another hint of opening for the reclusive North Korean economy, the country’s boxy, Soviet-era style Pyongyang airport may soon get a makeover.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un has asked architects reportedly charged with redesigning a military airport in the east of the country to submit designs toupgrade Pyongyang’s airport (paywall) as well, according to the South China Morning Post. Otto Cheng Peng-lun of PLT Planning and Architecture told the paper that his plans to convert a military airport in Wonsan into one for civilian use had impressed Kim Jong-un, who commented that the capital airport shouldn’t look worse than Wonsan’s.

Such new projects suggest at least some economic progress in North Korea, whose economy grew 1.3% last year, faster than Brazil’s, propped up by a growing informal sector as well as trade with China. North Korea has also said it is building economic zones that would allow foreign investment in certain industrial sectors, as well as a world-class ski resort.

Above (gallery) are some photos of the architects’ design plans for the new civilian airport in Wonsan, which would eventually serve tourists from South Korea who are allowed to visit the area. Photos are from one of the architects on the project, Karolis Kazlauskas.

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Tags: north korea