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Swedish snow makers coat North Korean slopes

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Swedish snow makers coat North Korean slopes
The Masik ski resort under construction. Photo: TT
09:56 CET+01:00
Swedish snow making equipment has been installed at the North Korean ski resort of Masik, in direct contravention of UN sanctions preventing the sale of "luxury items" to the pariah nation.
The North Korean state news agency recently released a series of photos from the ski resort, which was opened in December by the head of state Kim Jong-un.
 
The pictures clearly show snow making equipment from the Swedish manufacturer Areco, whose CEO Johan Erling has insisted that he has no idea how they got there.
 
"We have not sold directly to North Korea. I talked to our dealers in China and they have not sold any snow cannons there," he told the Dagens Nyheter daily.
 
Snow making equipment falls under the category of luxury items which are subject to a United Nations-backed sanctions regime in place since 2006. The sanctions are designed to dissuade North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons.
 
The Swedish products are not alone in featuring in the official photos from the regime's new flagship project, with Canadian snowmobiles and German and Italian snow ploughs also visible. It remains a mystery how the isolated nation has managed to get hold of the equipment.
 
The country was however blocked from buying a $7 million ski lift from Swiss manufacturer Bartholet Maschinenbau AG Flums a few months ago after Switzerland ruled that the deal breached the UN sanctions. North Korea responded by slamming the decision as a "serious human rights abuse".
 
The Masik ski resort, which is expected to have eight slopes open to the public, was opened by Kim Jong-un on New Year's Eve to much fanfare. Jong-un was pictured riding an apparently vintage two-seater ski lift but was not featured in action on the slopes. 
 
The project is expected to attract some 5,000 skiers per day during the winter season and the North Korean regime hopes that substantial profits will follow.
 
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