A delegation from the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea, which inspected the building almost 15 years ago, concluded it was beyond repair and its lift shafts crooked.
But in 2008 an Egyptian company, Orascom Telecom, which operates a mobile network in North Korea, began equipping the building.
Mr Wittwer said the hotel will "partially, probably" open for business next year.
But original plans for 3,000 hotel rooms and three revolving restaurants have been greatly scaled back. — bbc.co.uk