Pyongyang, Beijing team up to launch wax museum

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Pyongyang, Beijing team up to launch wax museum

Pyongyang and Beijing have joined hands to establish a wax museum with effigies of the leaders of both countries in Mangyongdae, the sacred birthplace of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, Chinese media reported this week.

The museum, which will reportedly stand just a few hundred meters from the founder’s house, is expected to improve ties between the two Communist regimes amid speculation that ties have deteriorated since Kim Jong-un took power in 2011.

Mangyongdae is located 12 kilometers, or about 7.5 miles, from the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

It is unclear when the museum will open or to whom entrance will be allowed, but China’s Global Times reported Wednesday that Chinese artists are set to partner up with their North Korean counterparts to fill three exhibition halls over a 5,000-square-meter (1.2-acre) space with waxworks.

According to the outlet, one of the three buildings will feature life-size wax figures of high-ranking Chinese government officials who visited North Korea, and it is likely the exhibit will include wax sculptures of Deng Ziaoping and former Prime Minister Zhou Enlai.

Zhang Molei, the director of the Great Man Wax Museum in China, will collaborate with workers from North Korea’s Mansudae Art Studio, a government-run art institution with some 2,000 employees. The studio churns out pro-government propaganda for the Kim family.

The idea to found a wax museum reportedly came from Molei, who visited Mangyongdae last year and thought the location was apt for such a facility. He reflected his thoughts in a letter to Kim Jong-un, and received permission to launch the project, according to the Global Times.

In the 1990s, Molei was appointed to create a wax sculpture of Kim Il Sung and received accolades in 1996 for the finished product, which was transported to Pyongyang.

In 2014, the North Korean regime selected him to receive the People’s Artist award, the first time a foreigner has ever been chosen for the honor.

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