Pyongyang: Home to the Tallest Hotel in the World That Could, but Will Never Be

One of the more interesting tales is that there were so many problems with the project that they began to snowball because no one had the guts to report them to the "Great Leader" Kim Il Sung.

The story goes that the problems eventually became insurmountable and that the dysfunction was eventually made obvious without a word being spoken.

Ryugyong Hotel: Looming Symbol of North Korea Itself

There's some mutterings of finding an "outside developer" with $300 million to come in and save the day, but as Emporis reports, the cement used in the structure is not safe enough to continue the project and is presently crumbling.

So even if an outside developer wanted to finish the job, it would have to first start by knocking it down and starting over from scratch.

At the moment, it appears that the present-day leader, Kim Jong Il, has other more important things on his mind, too much pride, or a lack of resources to tear it town.

In the meantime, a good solution to the problem was forged in the uniquely North Korean way: The landmark has been taken off printed maps, and now everyone just changes the subject whenever it's mentioned.

"I have a sightseeing guide to North Korea [published in Pyongyang] in my hands," Morse said. "And there's no mention of it, and it's not on the maps in there."

They've done what Harry Houdini could have only dreamed: They've made an 105-story building, the largest of anything around, completely disappear. Presto!

"Kim Il Sung had this enormous crater or growth on the left side of his neck. It was enormous," Chinoy said.

"It was never photographed, and on occasions when I met him and we were allowed to shoot, we always had to be positioned in such a way. … It was something you couldn't mention. It's just another one of these oddities of which there are so many in North Korea," Chinoy said.

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