A Hotel North Korea — North Korea’s prototype for an underwater cruise ship — sits rusting and unmoved on North Korea’s east coast, according to photos published Wednesday by the United States.
Last August, CNN identified the structure as a fully-completed underwater cruise ship, which was designed to last a year and cost $500 million. The vertical siding on the boat was deep enough to support a landing jetliner, and its high beams and a deck on its side gave it the appearance of a floating hotel.
Most of the ship is submerged at the moment because, the outside of the water, that is where the ship sits — where it used to, before North Korea lost power. Now, instead of setting sail, it lies stranded.
The vessel was never built, and the intention was to defrost it and use it as a launchpad for a new submarine to help the North Korean navy off-load supplies and cargo during a war.
Beyond its potential usefulness in defending the coast, the ship’s existence and North Korea’s lack of acknowledgement of it suggest that tensions with the U.S. will continue for the foreseeable future.
Although North Korea has previously brushed off the American government’s attempts to discuss peace between the two countries, its recent threats of nuclear war have failed to achieve a dramatic change in course.