Archive for the ‘Manufacturing’ Category

Orphan Information: Pyongyang Bio-Technical Institute

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

I have a lot of information laying around that I intend to use in publications, but sometimes that information doesn’t make it out the door where it can do other researchers any good. To help fix this I have put together a three-part “Orphan Information” series to remedy the problem.

This is part 1, and it features additional information on the Pyongyang Bio-technical Institute run by Korean People’s Army Unit 810 which was the subject of an article in 38 North by Melissa Hanham in July 2015. The information below helps to clarify the history of the facility and offers more hints as to its uses.

The facility has gone by two previous names in North Korea (of which I am aware): First it was known as the Patriotic Complex Microbial Center, then it was changed to the Vitamin C Factory at the Pyongyang Biotechnology Center. The current name is probably the third (in English).

Patriotic Complex Microbial Center (애국복합미생물센터) (Date Range: June 1997 – December 2010 [appx])

Aeguk-microbioal-2010-10-6

Pictured Above (Google Earth): Patriotic Complex Microbial Center (2010-10-6)

I have uploaded to YouTube two videos of the facility that were broadcast on North Korean Television.

This video was broadcast on 2010-6-8:

This video was broadcast on 2010-12-29:

I have not had either video translated, so if you speak Korean and think there is anything interesting in these videos, please let me know.

The NTI web page has the most complete description of the facility of which I am aware:

The Aeguk Compound Microbe Center was founded in June 1997 pursuant to Kim Jong Il’s orders for the creation of microbial fertilizers suitable for North Korea’s geographical conditions. Any connections to the North Korean program are unclear, but the center was built with assistance from Choch’ongnyŏn (Chosen Soren), the pro-North Korea General Association of Korean Residents in Japan. Almost all facilities with the designation “Aeguk (애국)” have been established with assistance from overseas pro-North Korean residents. The facility was expanded in April 1999 when the Compound Microbe Technical Research Station was established. The Aeguk Compound Microbe Center produces microbial stock (원균) in a liquid solution, and supplies the stock to compound microbial fertilizer factories throughout the country, which in turn produce microbial-based fertilizer supplements. According to the Pyongyang Times, the Aeguk Compound Microbe Center also assists farms in applying compound fertilizer produced at these factories. There are reportedly over 120 compound microbial fertilizer factories (복합미생물비료공장) in North Korea including the following:

  • Chŏngju Aeguk Compound Microbial Fertilizer Factory (정주애국복합미생물비료공장): Chŏngju (정주시), North P’yŏng’an Province (평안남도)
  • Hamhŭng Aeguk Compound Microbial Fertilizer Factory (합흥애국복합미생물비료공장): Hamhŭng (함훙시), South Hamgyŏng Province (함경남도)
  • Hamju Aeguk Compound Microbial Fertilizer Factory (함주애국복합미생물비료공장): Hamju-kun (함주군), South Hamgyŏng Province (함경남도)
  • Kae’p’ung Compound Microbial Fertilizer Factory (개풍애국복합미생물비료공장): Kae’p’ung-kun (개풍군), Kaesŏng (개성시)
  • Kwaksan Aeguk Compound Microbial Fertilizer Factory (곽산애국복합미생물비료공장): Kwaksan-kun (곽산국), North P’yong’an Province (평안북도)
  • P’anmun Aeguk Compound Microbial Fertilizer Factory (판문애국복합미생물비료공장): P’anmun-kun (판문군), Kaesŏng (개성시)
  • Man’gyŏngdae Aeguk Compound Microbial Fertilizer Factory (만경대애국복합미생물비료공장): Man’gyŏngdae-kuyŏk (만경대구역), Pyongyang (평양시)

As of 2000, the chief of the Aeguk Compound Microbe Center was Kim Ung Ho, who was also chairman of the DPRK Invention Committee.

Vitamin C Factory (비타민C공장)

In early 2011 construction began around the Patriotic Complex Microbial Center. When construction was completed, North Korea announced the Vitamin C Factory.

Vitamin-C-2013-12-1

Pictured Above (Google Earth: 2013-12-1): “Vitamin C Factory”

As you can see from comparing the images of the Patriotic Factory and the Vitamin C Factory, there was a substantial amount of work completed; however, the original building was not torn down, though its exterior (and probably interior) have been altered.

KCNA noted that the plant opened on August 9:

Pyongyang, August 9 (KCNA) — The Vitamin C Factory has been commenced with due ceremony on Friday. It was built on the bank of the River Taedong in Pyongyang.

The vitamin C producing base has the latest production processes that use bioengineering methods.

The factory helps make another achievement in carrying out the behests of leader Kim Jong Il, who worked heart and soul to improve the standard of people’s living, and will greatly contributing to promoting health of the people.

Present at the ceremony were Pak Pong Ju, Choe Thae Bok and officials concerned, officials of different units, builders, youth shock brigade members and officials and employees of the factory.

Pak Sun Chol, general director of the Korean Taeyang General Company, made an address.

At the end of the ceremony the participants went round the factory.

Here is the KCNA video that accompanied the story above:

KCTV evening news featured the opening of the plant on 2013-8-11 (start at the 3:03 mark) to view:

On August 16, 2013 construction of the factory was touted as a successful fulfillment of Kim Jong-un’s new year address:

Pyongyang, August 16 (KCNA) — Marshal Kim Jong Un, in the 2013 New Year Address, set the building of a strong economy as a key issue in accomplishing the cause of building a thriving socialist nation.

In response to his New Year Address, the people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have made fresh upsurge in all economic sectors in the spirit of the “Masikryong Speed”.

Readjustment of the West Sea Barrage-Sinchon-Kangryong and Ongjin waterways was finished in ten days, while more than 1,000 hectares of fruit field has come into being in Pukchong County, South Hamgyong Province.

The Pyongyang Essential Foodstuff Factory and the Phyongsong Synthetic Leather Factory have become streamlined and the Vitamin C Factory and the Turf Research Center of the State Academy of Science were newly built on a modern basis.

On August 20, 2013, KCNA for the first time published the name of the “Pyongyang Biotechnology Center” (평양생물기술연구원) as the name of the complex of which the Vitamin C Factory was a component:

Pyongyang Biotechnology Center

Pyongyang, August 20 (KCNA) — The Vitamin C Factory was modernly built at the Pyongyang Biotechnology Center located on the bank of the River Taedong.

With the operation of the factory, the center has developed into a comprehensive microbe fermentation researcher base and producer vital to developing agriculture, light industry and public health.

The center has turned out agrochemicals, anti-oxidation drinks EM-X, microbe fermentation accelerants, water purifier, digestive, etc.

All of those products are highly appreciated at home and abroad.

The center also has a biotechnology institute, compound microbiological fertilizer factory and experimental factory.

Neither the “Vitamin C Factory” nor the “Pyongyang Biotechnology Center” are ever mentioned again in the English-language state media.

The Korean name of the “Pyongyang Biotechnology Center” (평양생물기술연구원) appears in this Naenara article dated 2015-6-24.

Finally, the facility re-branded in the English-language state media when Kim Jong-un visits the “Bio-Technical Institute Under KPA Unit 810” in July 2015. The Korean name is virtually unchanged, though “under KPA Unit 810 is added”: 조선인민군 제810군부대산하 평양생물기술연구원

And now you know….the rest of the story.

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Seventieth anniversary of ‘The Pyongyang Essential Foodstuff Factory’, symbol of nationalized industry

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

The Pyongyang Essential Foodstuff Factory, important symbol of North Korea’s nationalized industrial sector, celebrated the 70th anniversary of its foundation on August 10, 2016. It was the first factory to come under state management following the adoption of the Major Industries Nationalization Law on the same day.

The official Workers Party of Korea (WPK) daily, Rodong Sinmun, reported on August 11 that “a commemorative briefing session was held on 10th August on the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Pyongyang Essential Foodstuff Factory. . . . Loyally following the will of the Party, the factory has strengthened and developed itself into a comprehensive and modern essential foods production facility with massive productive potential and a robust physical-technical basis.”

In commemoration of the anniversary, the Central Committee of the WKP sent a congratulatory message, while Pyongyang City Party Secretary Kim Su Gil, head of the factory Ri Gun Il, chief engineer Son Hyon Chol, and shop floor head Rim Jin Myong were in attendance.

The future trajectory of the factory was set out in the aforementioned nationalization law: “it has been observed that under Japanese imperialism, the Korean economy was subjugated, and factories, power plants, railways, etc. were constructed with the blood and sweat of the Korean people. All of these facilities must become the property of the Korean people.”

In accordance with this, all property of Japanese companies and individuals, and national traitors, including factories, mines, power plants, railways, communications, banks, retail enterprises, and cultural institutions, were confiscated and nationalized.

The Pyongyang Essential Foodstuff Factory was originally the ‘National Foods and Soy Sauce Corporation’, formed by a Japanese Zaibatsu in September 1933. Following its nationalization in 1946, it became known as the Korean Soy Sauce Factory in 1947, and became the Korean Pyongyang Soy Sauce Factory in 1955 as it became affiliated with the Ministry of Light Industry. In 1960, its name changed to the Pyongyang Soy Sauce Factory, then the Pyongyang Sauce Factory in 1963, and in 1973, it was again changed to the Pyongyang Chemical Seasoning Factory. It acquired its current name in the year 2000. [NKeconWatch: It is now known as “Pyongyang Condiments Factory”]

Located in the Songyo District of Pyongyang, it began in late 1945 by producing soy sauce and soy bean paste. In January 1961, on the orders of Kim Il Sung, it merged with Songsin Oil Factory. It was further remodeled in 1967, and began to produce synthetic seasoning. In April 1982, at around the 27th anniversary of Chongryon, a patriotic fermentation soy sauce works was constructed.

In the Kim Jong Il era, the factory became equipped with a disinfecting, unmanned oil refining process, and an essential nutrients production facility. When Kim Jong Un gave on-the-spot guidance in June 2013, he judged “the factory to be a rare court of workers, a delicious place for the Worker’s Party generation, overflowing with patriotism.”

Remodeled in 2013, it takes up a total area of 102,000 square meters, with a floor space of 63,900 square meters. It produces a range of products including soy bean paste, soy sauce, cooking oil, seasonings, salt and vitamin E-related products.

As a recipient of the title of a 2nd Grade Twenty-sixth Exemplary Unit Movement Factory, it was described as having “been as loyal to Party and Leader as white jade, and accomplishing the dying wishes of the General [Kim Jong Il] in an exemplary fashion. It has actively contributed to the development of the country’s food industry and improvement of the people’s diet with revolutionary struggle and clear industrial success.”

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Kim Jong-un and North Korean machinery industry

Monday, May 30th, 2016

By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Kim Jong-un has showed quite a bit of interest in the machinery industry as of late. Moreover, Rodong Sinmun has been touting the increased use of (domestically manufactured, I believe) machinery in agriculture in its reporting on the harvest campaign. And as IFES reports in its latest NK brief, the pattern continues (assuming it is a pattern and not just a series of coincidences…). Notice also the emphasis on domestic production. North Korea’s domestic market and manufacturing sector has made pretty significant strides in the past few years, so Kim’s words (highlighted below) may not just be the same old Juche talk of past generations:

Kim visited Machine Factory run by Ho Chol Yong on May 19th and ordered to complete the modernization of the plant by the ruling Party’s founding anniversary in October.

Since his first visit 10 years ago, he has provided field guidance to this factory in 2013 and 2014.

Kim toured an exhibition of machinery and equipment on May 13, emphasizing the need to eradicate the ‘disease of imports.’

On display at the exhibition was unit machinery equipment manufactured during the most recent “70 days speed battle.”

He sat inside the new 80 horsepower tractor developed by Kumsong Tractor plant and expressed his satisfaction over the fact that “[we have] a machine manufactured by our own efforts and with our own technology.”

In addition, he examined the agricultural equipment including seed drills and ordered to “enhance modernization of the agricultural plants and production process in order to produce more efficient farming equipment and parts by increasing the level of mechanization in agricultural industry by 60 to 70 percent.”

“For the mechanical products at the exhibit, self-reliance must come first, self-reliance is our way of life,” Kim stressed. He also emphasized the need to “eradicate the disease of imports.”

Kim Jong Un also said “we should continue to reinforce our Juche-based capacity based on our own ability, technology and resources and continue the pursuit of revolutionary self-determination-first policy,” and added, “the only thing we can believe in is our own self strength.”

During the Seventh Party Congress, Kim Jong Un said that the machinery industry is the touchstone of economic and technological development. He also directed to introduce a state-of-the-art equipment system and modernize a production line by updating existing equipment for maximum capacity in the machinery sector.

Kim Jong Un has visited 10 different machinery factories this year alone, placing considerable attention on making improvements to advance and modernize this industry.

Source:
Kim Jong Un Showing Special Attention to Improving Machinery Industry
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2016-05-31

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North Korean economic production and the 70-Day Campaign

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

UPDATE 1 (2016-5-18): By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

A couple of weeks ago, KCNA carried another evaluation of production during the 70-Day Campaign. In the context of claims that the newly launched five-year plan (2016-2020) is the first one in decades, it is worth noting that economic planning as such has never fully ceased to be part and parcel of the official North Korean economy. As communist economies do, North Korea still measures economic success much in terms of mere output. The 70-Day Campaign is one example:

The Korean Central News Agency Thursday released a report on the successful conclusion of the 70-day campaign with a great victory to be specially recorded in the history of the Korean nation under the guidance of Marshal Kim Jong Un.

According to the report, the capabilities for self-defence including the capacity of nuclear attack of Juche Korea have been remarkably bolstered and the campaign plan has been over-fulfilled 44 percent in terms of industrial output value, and industrial production has grown 1.6 times as against the same period last year.

Signal successes have been achieved in the development of Korean-style smaller nuclear warhead, simulated test of atmospheric re-entry of a ballistic missile, test of high-power solid-fuel rocket engine and stage separation, test of high-power engine of inter-continental ballistic missile.

Workers in the four vanguard fields have performed labor feats in the van of day-and-night campaign.

Those in the field of power industry honored their 70-day campaign quotas at 110 percent.

I am not one to draw major conclusions from the order of mentions of areas in reports such as this one, but if the order says anything about priorities, it is worth noting that energy shows up first among other areas than missiles and nukes. Recall that energy has been emphasized by media tied to the North Korean regime.

The Ministry of Coal Industry carried out its coal production plan more than 10 days ahead of schedule and results of capital tunneling and preparatory tunneling have jumped several times as against those in the past.

Those in the steel field and miners hit the goals of production of Juche iron, rolled steel and iron ore.

The field of railway transport carried out the plan for the transport of major freight at 124 percent.

What economic value more transportation carries is unclear…

More than 70 farm machines of over 20 types have been invented and manufactured, typically potato harvester, self-propelled sprayer, combined plowing machine, combined soil governing machine, small multi-purpose farm machine and combined rice thresher.

Those in the fishery field built multi-purpose fishing boats of “Hwanggumhae” series by their own efforts and with indigenous technology in a brief span of time and put them into operation.

The plan for the production of machine tools has been over-fulfilled more than 60 percent and index-specific campaign plans have also been carried out in the machine-building industrial field.

Workers in the Namhung Youth Chemical Complex and Hungnam Fertilizer Complex produced 1.2 times as much fertilizers as before and the February 8 Vinalon Complex significantly increased the production of vinalon and various kinds of other basic chemical goods.

The nationwide cement production plan has been carried out at 141 percent and a boost has also been recorded in the production of varieties of building materials including glass.

Workers of forestry stations and mine pillars production stations honored timber production plan set by the Ministry of Forestry at 137 percent.

Agricultural workers across the country have made full preparations for farming by their devoted efforts.

But note that no numbers are given for farming output, or any agricultural output other than fishing and seaweed.

Officials and workers in the fishery field have over-fulfilled their plan for fishing and seaweed culture more than 10 percent when the results of the Ministry of Fisheries are taken as a whole.

The gross industrial output value in the field of light industry has been over-fulfilled 54 percent and the index-specific performance has shown a marked jump over the period before the campaign.

A number of consumption goods producers have hit their goals for the first half of the year or the yearly ones. Some of them even set a record by fulfilling two-year production quotas.

Those in the field of land and environment protection and workers and other people across the country including youths and students planted hundreds of millions of trees in mountains covering more than 100 000 hectares.

The Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3 and the Wonsan Army-People Power Station have been successfully completed.

In just one month after breaking the ground for the construction of Ryomyong Street, its builders finished ground excavation for dozens of blocks of apartment houses and are now pushing forward the ground concrete tamping in its final stage.

Baby homes, orphanages, orphans’ primary and secondary schools sprang up across the country and the Mindulle Notebook Factory was built.

New structures have been built one after another. They include Dyke No. 2 of Nunggumdo Tideland, Outdoor Sapling Cultivation Ground of the Central Nursery of the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection and Pyongyang Athletic Apparatus Factory.

Scientists and educators across the country registered three times as many research achievements as against the same period last year to be conducive to the economic development of the country and the betterment of the people’s living standard.

Unprecedented achievements have also been made in the fields of literature, arts, education, public health and sports.

The 70-day campaign of loyalty clearly showed the world how the great Kim Jong Un‘s Korea is advancing toward the eminence of the century.

The full article was published by KCNA on May 6th.

ORIGINAL POST (2016-4-30):

“Industrial establishments over-fulfill production targets as the 70-day campaign comes to an end” (Pyongyang Times: 2016-4-30)

The Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex, one of the model units in the current 70-day campaign of loyalty, hit its steel and pig iron production targets 101 percent respectively as of April 20.

Smelters of the UHP electric arc furnace have so far reset the peak production record of molten iron per charge several times. They gave full play to the spirit of collectivism of helping and leading one another forward, while introducing advanced working methods to shorten the time of heating and increase the output of molten iron per charge.

The workers of the continuous ingot steel workshop carried out their daily production plan at 102 percent on average, 110 percent at maximum.

Those of the Sunchon Cement Complex drastically raised cement production on the first day of the campaign to renew the daily peak production record for the first time in 20 years. Without resting on their laurels, they worked hard and finally achieved their campaign goals.

The Ministry of Coal Industry carried out its highly-set campaign target ahead of schedule as of April 20 with the coal production plan 101 percent and major, preliminary and boring tunnelling 101.5, 105.5 and 106. 6 percent respectively.

Coal-mining machine factories across the country manufactured and repaired thousands of coal wagons and made over 1 800 wheels more than planned under the uplifted self-development-first banner. A great deal of achievements were also made in the production of coal-mining equipment and their parts.

The Chongchongang Thermal Power Station increased power generation to exceed its campaign plan by 2.2 percent as of April 25. The workers of the station repaired equipment and increased the number of boilers in operation to ensure uninterrupted power generation.

The February 8 Vinalon Complex gave priority to the supply of raw materials and fuel, staggered production and organized management of equipment and technology scrupulously to boost production, thereby surpassing the vinalon production goal by 50 percent.
Workers of the Wonsan Salt Works increased production 2.2 times over the same period of last year by fully storing seawater in reservoirs while introducing an advanced seawater freezing method which suits the conditions on the east coast throughout the winter.

Thousands of hectares of farmland have been rezoned in Kaesong and Jangphung County, with over 19 300 patches and paddies and more than 1 260-kilometre-long ridges between paddy and dry fields removed and hundreds of hectares of land brought under cultivation. This paved the way for comprehensive mechanization of farming on all fields and consequent increased cereals production.

Officials and workers of the Sinuiju Textile Mill have produced three times more cotton yarn and fabrics than before the campaign. Amidst the dynamic collective emulation drive between workteams, shifts and workshops, many workers and workteams have carried out the first half year and annual production plans as well as campaign plans and the number is growing.

More than 200 factories and enterprises in Pyongyang have hit their 70-day campaign goals and first half year plans ahead of schedule.

“Nation’s Industrial Production Rises 1.2 Times” (Pyongyang Times: 2016-3-16)

Industrial output grows rapidly thanks to the heightened revolutionary enthusiasm and creative spirit of selfreliance and self development of service personnel and people, who have risen up in the day and night march true to the call of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea for launching a 70day campaign of loyalty for the Seventh Party Congress, according to a report of the Korean Central News Agency on March 12.

The nation’s industrial production increased 1.2 times in the first ten days of March over the same period of last year.

The Pukchang and Pyongyang thermal power complexes and other thermal and hydropower stations across the country pressed on with power generation as scheduled, far exceeding the tenday targets set by the Party.

Coal mines in the western areas including Tokchon and Sunchon cut thousands of tons of coal more every day.

The Ministry of Coal Industry overfulfilled the tenday production plan by 13 per cent and the results of major and preliminary tunnelling far surpassed the plan, securing hundreds of reserve coalcutting faces.

The workers of the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex doubled the Juche iron output over the same period of last year, and all metallurgical bases conducted a dynamic drive to increase iron and steel production.

Amidst the heated emulation and experiencesharing in iron ore mines in Musan, Unnyul, Thaethan and other areas, the Jaeryong Mine increased daily production over 1.5 times on average, thus taking the lead in the supply of concentrated iron ores to metallurgical factories.

The Ministry of Railways, all the railway bureaus and their branches commanded railway transport scrupulously and gave top priority to concentrated transport without accident to overfulfil the plan for main freight.

The increased production in the vanguard economic sectors injected a new lease of life into the overall major industrial sectors such as machinebuilding, chemical, building materials and mining industries and forestry.

The Taean Heavy Machine Complex completed the production of generating equipment till March 9 in a matter of two months and sent them to the construction site of Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3 on March 10.

The workers of the large machinebuilding bases in Ragwon and Ryongsong and the Sungni Motor Complex speeded up the processing of products and increased the production of spare parts including various kinds of gears and speed reducers, a great contribution to a 1.5 times rise in the production of thermal power generating equipment of the Ministry of Machine Building Industry.

The workers of the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex hit the Juche fertilizer production target for the first ten days of March.

Cement production is also growing in the Sangwon Cement Complex whose workers and technicians have turned out to break the production record again this year after last year.

Many forestry and prop production stations carried out their first quarterly and yearly timber production quotas.

Farming preparations were brisk on the agricultural front, resulting in a 1.7 and 2.8 times growth in the securing of hukposan and microbial fertilizers and an over 1.3 times increase in the acreage of field carpeted with humus soil.

Officials and fishermen carried out the plans of the Ministry of Fisheries for ten days 121 per cent.

Daily amount of catch increased rapidly and fishing results saw a leap in the fishery stations on the east and west coasts.

Hundreds of workers hit their targets for the first quarter and half of the year in the field of textile industry. Kumkhop, Pomhyanggi and Maebongsan and other popular brands saw a sharp rise in sales.

Many major construction projects progressed apace including those for Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3, reconstruction of Kim Il Sung Stadium, secondstage reconstruction of the Central Zoo, capacity builup of the Central Tree Nursery of the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection, the central class education hall and Wonsan Army People Power Station.

Many young people volunteered to work in labour consuming fields and hundreds of workers carried out their yearly plans.

“KCNA Reports about Signal Successes in Various Fields in Early March” (KCNA: 2016-3-13)

The Korean Central News Agency Saturday said in a report that the industrial production in the first ten days of March when the 70-day campaign of loyalty is under way grew 1.2 times as compared with the corresponding period of last year.

According to the report, production in the vanguard and basic industrial fields of the national economy including electric power, coal, metal and railway transport sharply rose.

Thermal power plants and hydro-power stations across the country have over-fulfilled their daily quotas.

The production plan of the Ministry of Coal Industry for ten days in March was over-fulfilled 13 percent.

The workers of the Chollima Steel Complex boosted the production of rolled steel 32 percent.

A dynamic drive for increased iron and steel production is under way in metallurgical bases across the country including the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex.

The Jaeryong Mine increased daily quotas over 1.5 times on an average, thus taking the lead among the iron ore mines in Musan, Unryul, Thaethan and other areas.

The Ministry of Railways, all the railway bureaus and sub-bureaus over-fulfilled main freight haulage plan.

The increased production in the vanguard sectors of the national economy injected vitality into major industrial fields such as machine-building, chemical, building material and mining industries and forestry.

The custom-built equipment for different fields of the national economy were turned out and the production of nonferrous metal ore, chemical fertilizers, cement, sheet glass, timber, etc. radically increased.

The Taean Heavy Machine Complex completed the production of generating equipment in a matter of two months and sent them to the construction site of the Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3 on Mar. 10.

The Ministry of Machine Industry increased the production of thermal power generating equipment 1.5 times.

Mines under the Phosphate Fertilizer Industry Management Bureau honored its plan at 150 percent.

The workers of the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex hit the goal for the production of Juche fertilizers.

The workers and technicians of the Sangwon Cement Complex are working hard to surpass the peak production year again this year.

The Sunchon Cement Complex, the Chonnaeri Cement Factory and the Sunghori Cement Factory boosted the production over 10 percent.

Many forestry stations and pit prop production stations also honored their first quarterly and yearly timber production quotas.

The production of homemade fertilizers and their transport, tractor overhauling and maintenance and other farming preparations are nearing completion thanks to the devoted drive of agricultural workers across the country.

The fishery officials and workers over-fulfilled their production plan of the Ministry of Fisheries for ten days 21 percent.

The field of light industry over-fulfilled the production plans for textiles, knitwear and shoes.

In the field of textile industry hundreds of workers honored the half yearly and first quarterly quotas and famous products and goods favored by the people are on the increase.

Many major construction projects are making rapid progress.

A lot of young people volunteer to work in the hard and labor-consuming fields.

Across the country hundreds of workers honored their yearly plans, at least 3,600 people carried out the first half yearly plans and more than 15,400 people hit the first quarterly goal.

A lot of members of the women’s union are giving helping hands to builders in power stations, workers of coal and ore mines. War veterans, honorary party members and pensioners have turned out in the 70-day campaign in South Phyongan Province and other parts of the country to fully demonstrate the noble traits of our society advancing with the might of single-minded unity.

“Rapid Economic Growth Witnessed in DPRK” (KCNA: 2016-4-8)

The DPRK has made a rapid progress in major construction or reconstruction projects and industrial production in recent 40 days after the start of the 70-day campaign.

In particular, Pyongyang, its capital city, showed an increase of twice in the tempo of construction or reconstruction projects and 1.6 times in industrial production.

The Aeguk Vegetable Processing Factory and the Mangyongdae Children’s Camp were rebuilt on a modern basis and the second-stage renovation of the Central Zoo is progressing apace at the final stage.

Besides, 80 percent of total work has been carried out in scores of construction and reconstruction projects, including the Ryuwon Shoes Factory, Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory and the Pyongyang Cornstarch Factory.

Electricity and coal outputs went up at thermal-power and hydro-power stations and coal mines.

The Pyongyang Steel Works and the Pyongyang Cast Iron Pipe Factory fulfilled their production plans 120 percent on an average, 150 percent to the maximum.

An increasing number of units in light industry and foodstuff industry have finished their yearly and half-yearly production quotas.

Such successes are reported from railway, agricultural and other industrial sectors.

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DPRK launches “Ja-ryok” cargo ship

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Jaryok-Google-earth

Pictured above (Google Earth): The Ja-ryonk (자력) under construction at the Ryongnam Shipyard in Nampho.

Jaryok-Rodong-Sinmun-2016-5

Pictured Above (Rodong Sinmun): The Ja-ryok

According to KCNA:

5,000-ton Trade Cargo Ship 자력 Launched

5,000-ton trade cargo ship “Jaryok” (self-reliance) was built as a present to the Seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).

The ship was launched with due ceremony at the Ryongnam Dockyard on Sunday.

Present at the ceremony were O Su Yong, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the WPK, officials concerned, officials and employees of the dockyard.

Kang Jong Gwan, minister of Land and Maritime Transport, made an address for the launch to be followed by some speeches.

They said the present success is ascribable to the patriotic devotion of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il to the development of maritime trade and to the leadership of MarshalKim Jong Un and it is also a proof of the loyalty of the working people and officials in the maritime transport field to the party who are determined to bring in earlier the final victory of building a thriving socialist country.

They referred to the fact that Kim Jong Un personally named the cargo ship “Jaryok”.

The loving care and trust of Kim Jong Un is associated with the intention wanting to dynamically promoting the development of the maritime industry in the spirit of self-reliance and self-development, they noted.

They called for attaining the high goal for the development of maritime industry by displaying the revolutionary spirit and mettle of heroic Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il working class in close unity around Kim Jong Un and dynamically fighting for the final victory of building a thriving socialist country.

A tape was cut and the cargo ship slid off the launching ways to the sea.

Here is footage from KCTV.

See more analysis by Leo Byrne at NK News here.

Michael Madden also provides information.

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North Korea considers nuclear test a driving force of economic development

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

Following North Korea’s self-proclaimed hydrogen bomb test on January 6, 2016, which highlighted the fact that North Korea is a nuclear-armed state, daily mass rallies have been held in order to stimulate economic development and cement national unity. The Korean Worker’s Party (KWP) mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun proudly announced on January 8th that the fourth nuclear test had been a ‘success’. It has been reported that mass rallies were held in North Phyongan Province, Jagang Province, Kangwon Province, North Hamgyong Province, Ryanggang Province, Rason City, and other regions as part of the effort to continue building a strong and prosperous nation.

Each of these mass rallies included discussions on how to develop the economy so as to “achieve a golden age through the building of a strong and prosperous nation.” The purpose behind these daily mass rallies can be interpreted as both taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the nuclear test to strengthen solidarity of the people while also paving the way to maximize economic productivity ahead of the upcoming 7th Party Congress that is scheduled for May.

In fact, the North Korean media is asserting that the recent nuclear test was a measure to deter war in order to bring about a domestic economic revival. A front page editorial in the Rodong Sinmun encouraged the nation, saying “We will go full-speed ahead to raise North Korea’s human dignity, vigor, and glory, which are already well-known in the international community. With the success of our hydrogen bomb test as the main driving force, we will show off the mighty power of our nation, and we must aggressively take on the struggle of improving the lives of the people and building an economically strong nation.”

The Chosun Sinbo, which is the mouthpiece of Chongryon (the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan) serving as the representative for North Korea in Japan, emphasized that, “We must have a powerful deterrent to endless warfare in order to have a peaceful environment that will enable us to build up our economy. Focusing all of our efforts on building an economically powerful nation and creating a new paradigm shift in which to develop our economy and improve the lives of the people is the most important task of this year.”

Meanwhile, North Korea’s propaganda outlets are stating that food processing plants and other sectors are producing a flood of globally competitive products. North Korea’s propaganda website aimed at the outside world (Chosun Today) stated on January 7th that “Recently, many North Korean food processing plants have been modernizing their manufacturing processes to produce foodstuffs that meet global quality standards, actively contributing to the improvement of the living standards of the Korean people.”

The Sonhung Food Processing Plant was introduced as a model case example. According to North Korean media, the foods produced at this plant are all globally competitive goods, and the best products of the country. Although the plant has only been in operation for 10 years, the media claims that current annual net operating profits per employee are a staggering 350 times higher than those of their first year of operation, and the plant is known for this remarkable record-setting achievement.

These formidable efforts also encompass the development of approximately 90 health products with high nutritional value over the past four years, including healthy danmuk. The news outlets also boasted that nine North Korean factories have received ISO 22000 (food safety management system) certifications.

In addition, 60 products were registered as ‘February 2nd products’, and not long ago five food products, including fruit bread, coffee sweetener, and healthy danmuk, received ‘December 15th quality medals’.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Address emphasized “improving the lives of the people” and encouraged various factories to achieve success. The propagation of these successes through the North Korean media outlets demonstrates Kim Jong Un’s intentions of inspiring loyalty from the people through intensive efforts to increase the quality of their diets.

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North Korea’s self-assessment of its economy in 2015

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

The Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korea newspaper of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, released an article on December 18 that evaluated North Korea in 2015 and commended it for “achieving a remarkable leap that reached 10 years achievement in just one year.”

The newspaper commented that many monumental works had been created in 2015 that changed the country. The newspaper also introduced the recently completed constructions of Mt. Paekdu Hero Youth Power Station, multi-tier power stations on the Chongchon River, Future Science Street, Mangyongdae School Children’s Palace, Pyongyang Nursing Home, Mansudae Fountain Park, and “Mujigae” ferry on the Taedong River.

In addition, the Sonbong region in Rason City which had suffered severe flood damages in August was reported to have achieved great changes in only 30 days, turning the village into a “socialist fairyland.”

The newspaper added that “this year, Choson [North Korea] embarked on the advancement of science and technology and emphasized ideology, weapons, and technology as three pillars for constructing great and powerful socialist nation.” It also stated that “in accordance with the party’s policy to turn all people into science and technology talents, institutions, factories, enterprises, and cooperative farms across the country were equipped with over 2,000 science and technology resource rooms.”

A corn processing plant and a catfish farm were discussed as examples: “Pyongyang corn processing plant has achieved automation, and dust and bacteria-free conditions in the entire production process, from raw material to the packaging stage”; “Pyongyang Catfish Farm established the comprehensive production system that integrated intellectualization, informatization, and magnetization in the factory.”

In particular, the newspaper mentioned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s onsite field guidance visit to the Pyongyang Catfish Farm where he emphasized the modernization of farm, noting that “the modernization of the catfish plant did not simply bring in power and technology from outside but is based on our independent technology and facilities.”

Moreover, the newspaper said, “This year, measures were devised to improve the dietary level of the people through focusing on advancing livestock, agricultural, and marine products.” It further announced that “Vegetable Science Institute of the Academy of Agricultural Science succeeded in cultivation methods of producing 300 tons per chongbo (1 chongbo = 9,917 square meters) through vigorous research that concentrated on scientification of greenhouse vegetable cultivation.”

In addition, the newspaper added that “scientification” was promoted in other sectors including education, sports, and culture.

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North Korean media continues promotion of domestic products

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IEFS)

North Korean media continues to promote the country’s domestic products and encourage North Koreans to buy them.

On November 29, 2015, much of North Korean media coverage was devoted to reporting on North Korea’s modern factories and encouraging North Koreans to purchase the products they produced.

Likewise, Korean Central Television (KCTV) aired a program on November 20, 2015 about the Mangyongdae Kyonghung Foodstuff Factory, describing it as “a place that produces an assortment of food products made by us and with our brand names.” The program went on to explain the factory’s products and latest facilities in detail for thirteen minutes.

North Korean media is not just promoting domestic food and daily commodities, but is actively promoting a variety of products, including heavy equipment like tractors.

On November 26, 2015, KCNA reported that the Kim Jong Tae Electric Locomotive Works has “achieved praiseworthy results producing and developing an ‘our-style’ subway train that meets the demands of the development era.”

The Rodong Sinmun is also participating in the promotion of domestic goods. It recently published an article entitled ‘Let’s Love Our Things and Honor Them’ in which it reported on North Korean-made goods such as tractors, cars, and bulldozers, and further warned that “If a country’s citizens rely on foreign powers and do not trust their own strength, eventually that country will fail.”

The article also praised a researcher who helped develop a type of ‘medicinal toothpaste’: “Through our strength and technology and with our raw materials, he developed an ‘our-style’ product.”

Furthermore, North Korea has claimed that all of the satellites the country has launched, including Kwangmyongsong-3 Unit 2 (carried by the long-range rocket ‘Unha-3’ and successfully launched into orbit in December 2012), were 100% composed of North Korean parts.

The Rodong Sinmun echoed this claim in an article on December 2, 2015: “There are many countries in the world that have their own satellites in space, but how many of those countries can honestly say that their satellites are 100% domestically-made?”

It added, “Mankind probably could not find an example of a successful satellite launch amidst such infernal sanctions, such harsh circumstances, such brutal and unfair challenges.”

In some sense, these reports can be interpreted as an attempt by the regime to stimulate the development of factory technology by increasing consumption of domestic products and to promote economic development by infusing energy into the industrial sector.

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North Korea heightens promotion of domestic light industry goods

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

North Korean media is actively promoting the superiority of its light industry products, likening Pyongyang’s department stores to product exhibition halls.

North Korea’s external propaganda site, DPRK Today, posted an article on November 26, 2015 entitled, ‘Come Visit the Pyongyang Department Store No. 1, which is Gaining Popularity for its Domestically-Produced Goods.’ According to the article, “The display stands are so full of domestic products that the department store looks like a light industry product exhibition.”

Opened in 1982 after reconstructing Pyongyang’s former Hwashin Department Store, Pyongyang Department Store No. 1 is located in Pyongyang’s Jung-guyok and is North Korea’s largest department store. With nine floors above ground and one below, it sells numerous domestic goods as well as goods produced in China and other countries. Its most popular items are female beauty products.

According to the article, North Korea’s domestic goods enjoy great popularity with the North Korean people. The Cosmos brand hairpin and Bomhyanggi and Unhasu high-end cosmetics brands (manufactured by the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory and Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory) are reportedly well-received by women. Also said to be selling well are the Choltchuk socks produced by the Pyongyang Hosiery Factory, shoes manufactured by the Ryuwon Shoes Factory, and light-weight dishes made by Kyongsong Ceramic Factory. The article goes on to boast that people who purchase domestic brands like Rungna, Bombit Bread, Taedong River Bottled Beer, Pyongyang Soju, Raengchon Cider, and Kangso Mineral Water all say, “Our things are the best.”

Between January and February 2015, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Pyongyang’s cosmetics and shoes factories, where he directly mentioned famous overseas brands and repeatedly called for the production of world-class products. In early November 2015 North Korean media released a flurry of reports boasting about the improvement in the quality of its cosmetics.

On another note, Kim Jong Un is also reportedly visiting military-affiliated fisheries and urging an increase in production. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on November 25, 2015 that Kim gave field guidance to the No. 15 Fisheries Office, which is affiliated with the 549th Unit of the Korean People’s Army and is pushing forward a “massive fish harvest.”

To encourage the workers, Kim reportedly said, “I hope the laborers and warriors of the fishery offices do as the Party intends and welcome the 7th Congress of the Korean Workers’ Party by fixing and modernizing the offices magnificently and achieving more excellent fishing results. . . . The fishery offices must build on the results this year and set magnanimous goals in order to rapidly increase the yearly fish output in a short period of time.”

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North Korea boasts of ‘world-class cosmetics’

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

As reports in North Korea continue to pour out boasting about the improvement in the quality of its cosmetics, it appears that Kim Jong Un’s instructions to raise the quality of cosmetics suited to the tastes of consumers have achieved some results.

On November 5, 2015, the North Korean external propaganda site ‘DPRK Today’ posted an article about the 26th National Exhibition of Consumer Products, which was held in Pyongyang from October 26-30. The website reported, “The Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory and Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory submitted more than 80 types of cosmetics and hundreds of products to the exhibition, which felt like the site of a fierce technology competition.”

‘DPRK Today’ cited products on display such as soap, beauty cream, shampoo, and conditioner. “The brands were very distinctive, and the packaging has also changed. There were also many new eye-catching products,” the website reported.

The article also referenced the cosmetic industry’s slogan, ‘World-Class Cosmetic Products—More, Better, Faster,’ and emphasized that the “goals and rate of progress of our cosmetics industry have changed. Those dreams were placed on many products displayed at the exhibit.” In order to achieve these goals, the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory as well as the Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory are “constantly shortening the technology renewal cycle by modernizing the production process and better managing technological capabilities,” the website explained.

Back in May 2015, the Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan, reported that the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory was producing functional cosmetics with ‘natural’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ qualities. It mentioned the ‘Unhasu’ brand and stated that products such as beauty cream, lotion, and foundation had already been developed.

The newspaper also claimed that the biotechnology division of the State Academy of Sciences had used stem cells to develop cosmetics with anti-aging, moisturizing, and whitening effects.

Prior to this Kim Jong Un had visited the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory in February 2015, where he issued instructions to raise the quality of cosmetics. “We need to make it so that our people prefer Unhasu products to foreign-made cosmetics, and further, so that Unhasu cosmetics become the talk of the global market,” he exhorted factory employees.

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