New Construction and Refurbishment of Factories Producing Consumer Necessities

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

Seemingly taking an interest in the welfare of the public, Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, before his visit to a soap factory, has spent the previous month visiting a medical device factory, spring water bottling facility, a ‘sovereign’ factory, and the Ryugyong Dental Hospital. On October 29, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim Jong Un also toured the newly constructed Mount Ryongak Soap Factory. Of late, newly constructed or refurbished factories producing consumer necessities have featured prominently in the North Korean media.

According to the KCNA report, Kim Jong Un said while on his inspection tour that “our people must be provided with abundant and happy lives without envy. . . . Continuing to put much energy into areas that help in the creation of the material and technical foundations of industry that contribute to improving the lives of the people, the people must fully benefit from such efforts.” The KCNA report also stated that Kim said “in a few months that felt like just a couple of days ago I was here looking at a construction site, and now a large, modern, impressive facility has been fully built.”

Last June, Kim Jong Un visited the Mount Ryongak Soap factory construction site, gave it its name, and directed that it should be completed by the anniversary of the Worker’s Party foundation (October 10th). In addition, he visited the Mount Ryongak Spring Water Bottling Facility in September and ordered for normalizing increased production standards, delivering spring water produced at the right time, and standardizing and varying the color and shape of glass bottles. It was at the direction of Kim Jong Il that the Mount Ryongak Spring Water Bottling Facility opened in 2007, to supply the people of Pyongyang with water from the mountain, while Kim Jong Un is credited with having it refurbished and modernized.

Kim Jong Un also gave on-the-spot guidance at the Mangyongdae Revolutionary History Sovereign Factory. While there he said “I like the fact that we are using our own raw materials and products to make zippers. The Party’s directive to domesticate production has achieved great results.” Completed in December 1979, the factory’s products were praised by Kim Jong Il at the August 1984 Pyongyang Light Industrial Products Exhibit. In addition, KCNA reported that Kim had instructed that the factory be refurbished and modernized.

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