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North Korea Stuns World With New City Built By Slave Labour

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has unveiled a new city that's been dubbed the "epitome of modern civilisation". But critics say it was built using slave labour.

Kim labelled the new mountain city 'Samjiyon' the "ideal socialist village" and fireworks were lit to celebrate its completion during his New Year's address.

The city was reconstructed to accommodate more than 4,000 people and includes new apartments, a ski resort, hotels, a blueberry drink factory and a sports stadium.

The city represents Kim's desire for a "self-reliant" economy but shortages in labour and material meant its construction was delayed.

Fireworks to celebrate the new town's construction. Image: KCNA

Critics of North Korea claim that sanctions implemented to hurt Pyongyang's nuclear program have prompted 'slave labour' conditions.

North Korea reportedly has the highest prevalence of modern slave labour in the world, with one in 10 North Koreans subjected to forced labour.

The city's construction included the use of youth labour brigades, where workers receive no pay, little food and worked 12 hour days for more than 10 years.

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The brigades work tirelessly in hopes they'll join the Workers' Party or get the chance to go to university.

Visiting the city in October, Kim said its construction was motivated by“the pain the US-led anti-DPRK hostile forces inflicted upon the Korean people".

He said the pain had "turned into their anger" and was "used to propel construction efforts."

State media reported the city was built "despite rainy muddy road, mid-summer heat and mid-winter blizzards.”

Contact Eden at egillespie@networkten.com.au