Why only the poorest North Koreans live in the country’s high-rise penthouses

North Korea has completed the construction of an 80-story residential skyscraper complete with penthouse apartments in the capital Pyongyang, but only some of the least fortunate in the country reportedly choose to live on the top floors of the country’s high-rise apartments.

Defectors have said that many North Koreans have problems with the higher floors of these apartments due to lack of functioning elevators, electrical problems, minimal water supply and poor overall safety and quality, according to Reuters.

“In North Korea, the poor live in penthouses instead of the rich because elevators often do not work properly and they cannot pump water up because of the low pressure,” said Jung Si-woo, a 31-year-old North Korean defector. told Reuters.

Jung gave an example, adding: “A friend who lived on the 28th floor of a 40-story block had never used the elevator because it did not work. Most elevators only worked twice a day, during rush hour from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and at the same time in the evening. “

North Korean citizens do not get many options because housing is allocated and buying and selling housing is illegal.

According to state media, housing development is an important goal for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and he has promised to build thousands of apartments. On Wednesday, the country completed the construction of 10,000 new apartments that put an honor in their completion time and quality.

In Jung’s opinion, however, the effort is theatrical. “It’s to show how much their building skills have been improved, rather than taking into account residents’ preferences.”

The editor-in-chief of the Daily NK, Lee Sang-yong, a Seoul-based website that reports on North Korea, confirms Jung’s claims, saying his sources reported that “the apartments for ordinary people were not ready to live in.”

“Windows only had frames, and faucets, even when installed, did not work; but the newly completed luxury homes come complete with furniture and utensils,” explains Lee.

Kim Jong Un recently gifted a two-story luxury apartment to North Korean TV anchor Ri Chun-hee in thanks for her loyalty, saying: “There is nothing left for national treasures like Ri Chun-hee who has led a virtuous life with the revolutionary microphone . ”

Feature image via (stephan) / Wikimedia Commons

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