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Swiss government blocks deal to sell luxury ski lift to North Korea


Switzerland has vetoed an attempt by an engineering company to sell a $7.5m (£4.8m) ski lift to North Korea because of concerns that the sale would breach United Nations sanctions against the Pyongyang regime.

The Swiss cable-car firm Bartholet Maschinenbau had wanted to deliver the ski-lift system to North Korea to equip a new resort, which is being planned in the east of the country. The project is seen an attempt by the regime to attract tourists.

But the Swiss government is reported to have blocked the deal after taking advice from the country’s economics secretariat, Seco, which said it was “impossible to imagine” ordinary North Koreans using the ski resort.

The body ruled that sale would be in breach of UN sanctions if it went ahead because the ski lift is rated as a banned luxury item destined for a North Korean “prestige and propaganda” project.

The UN Security council approved further sanctions against North Korea in March this year after Pyongyang carried out its third nuclear test. The sanctions include penalties on North Korean banking, travel and trade. They also forbid the sale of luxury goods to the country. North Korea’s ambassador to Switzerland was reported to have expressed his anger over the blocked sale.