Kim Jong-il visits 148 sites in 2010 – Focuses on econommy after Yeonpyeong shelling

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 10-12-13

According to a report on Kim Jong Il”s on-site inspections and guidance, the leader of the North made 148 trips throughout the country between the beginning of the year and December 6, most of which were to sites related to economic activities. The South Korean Ministry of Unification revealed that, of Kim”s visits, 33 were to military sites, 58 to sites related to the economy, and 11 visits related to foreign affairs. These numbers are similar to those seen in 2009 (i.e., 148 visits: 43 military sites; 58 economy; 13 foreign relations). It was also reported that Kim Jong Un accompanied his father on 28 of those trips in 2010. The North Korean official media has continued, even after the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, to report on Kim”s on-site guidance, and the visits appear to focus on production facilities related to the people”s livelihoods.

One recent report revealed that Kim visited a cigarette factory, food processing facility, and traditional medicine producer in Hyeryong, while another report noted Kim”s visits to mining facilities and a food processing plant in Musan, as well as magnesia factory, mining equipment factory, and port facilities under construction in Danchun.

Kim Jong Il has made 12 site visits since the Yeonpyeong Island incident on November 23, seven of which were to sites important to the economy. While Kim has focused on visits to South Hamgyong Province in the past, he has recently shown more interest in North Hamgyong, as well.

On December 3, Korea Central Broadcasting reported on Kim Jong Il”s visit to the Musan food processing plant, attributing him with having “expressed great pleasure” that the plant was turning out flawless food items that would “significantly add” to the lives of the people. He also explained to the workers that it was their duty to help improve the lives of the people of the town.

Kim Jong Il also visited the Kim Chaek Ironworks and stressed the importance of Juche-driven self-reliant production and an independent economy. On December 6, the KCNA released a 7-page account of Kim”s visits, which observers believe could have significant meaning.


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