The downhill side of nuclear weapons, North-Korean-style
North Korea has responded angrily to Switzerland's decision to block the sale of ski-lift equipment for the Masik ski resort, now under construction in the rogue Asian state. (KCNA via KNS/AFP/FILE)
Here’s the deal.
You want nuclear weapons? Okay, fine. But you’ll have to find your own way to the top of the ski hill.
North Korea is learning this lesson the hard way.
According to a recent Agence France Presse report from Seoul, Swiss ski-lift manufacturer Bartholet Maschinenbau has been blocked by Swiss authorities from proceeding with a plan to sell its equipment to North Korea.
As a result, one of dear respected leader Kim Jong-Un’s pet projects – a mountain ski resort called Masik – has been stalled in mid-construction.
The complex is said to include a wide variety of ski runs, plus a hotel and heliport (but so far no ski lifts) and was to be completed by the end of 2013.
Predictably, the Asian country’s skiers association was livid and promptly condemned the Swiss action.
“This is a wanton violation of the UN Charter clarifying that sanctions should not impose sufferings and damage on the peaceful existence and activities of mankind and the people in relevant countries.”
The ski-lift deal was valued at $6.7 million, according to the AFP report. Two other European manufacturers of cable cars and other lifting devices had already declined to supply the renegade state with their equipment, in accord with Western trade sanctions intended to deter Pyongyang from its nuclear-weapons program.
As a result of this latest act of spineless capitalist perfidy, North Korean skiing enthusiasts – probably not an especially plentiful breed, given the country’s strapped economic circumstances – had best be prepared to shoulder their skis and climb.
Take that, Kim Jong-Un.
Oakland Ross is a foreign affairs reporter for the Toronto Star.