It appeared that the North Korean government was very excited about the development of the Ryugyong Hotel. As a result, it decided to add it to maps and emblazon it on stamps before it was even finished. However, little did the government know that more than 30 years after construction began, the building would still not have opened.
The development of the Ryugyong Hotel hit its first stumbling block in 1992. At that time, North Korea plunged into a period of economic uncertainty after the collapse of the Soviet Union a year prior. As a result, the enormous empty skyscraper loomed vacant over Pyongyang, completely devoid of windows and fittings, and with a crane rusting away on top.
For more than a decade, it seemed that any plans for the Ryugyong Hotel had been completely abandoned. During this period, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea labeled the building as irredeemable. After an inspection in the late 1990s, concerns were expressed that the concrete used on the building was of low quality. Furthermore, sources reported that the elevator shafts in the skyscraper were “crooked.”