N Korean Co Plans “E-Museum” of Angkor Temples

The government last week expressed support for plans by the North Korean construction company Mansudae Overseas Projects to build a so-called “e-museum” near Siem Reap province’s Angkor Archeological Park, a media report and officials said.

Official news agency Agence Kampuchea Presse reported Friday that the plans were discussed at a meeting on Thursday between Culture Ministry Secretary of State Khem Sarith and the director of the Mansudae Overseas that was also attended by North Korean Ambassador Ri In Sok.

The e-museum will display digital simulations that will allow visitors to experience all of Angkor’s temples in 20 minutes, providing an overview for visitors about to enter the actual park, according to AKP.

Siem Reap provincial Governor Sou Phirin said yesterday he was aware of the plans to build an e-museum but that had no details about the project.

North Korean Embassy First Secretary Su Yong said yesterday “we have an agreement on museum building” but he conceded that “more discussion” was needed in order to iron out details such as cost and timing.

Complaints about a lack of transparency have followed Mansudae Overseas for the last decade as it has constructed major monuments across Africa.

Recently, Mansudae Overseas made headlines internationally when its grandest project to date, the Monument for the African Renaissance, a 49-meter bronze statute of a man carrying his scantily clad wife and naked child out of a volcano, was unveiled in Senegal amid accusations of financial impropriety.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade had personally intervened to ensure the contract for Mansudae, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Mansudae Overseas is the most visible subsidiary of Mansudae Art Studio, which, according to program notes written for an exhibition of its artists’ work held in Italy in 2006, is a 120,000-square-meter art center in Pyongyang personally run under the “special guidance” of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il.


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