Archive for the ‘Light Industry’ Category

Building the economy and construction projects emphasized once again

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-12-27

In an effort to restore the mood of economic development following the ‘terror politics’ created from the execution of Jang Song Thaek, North Korean state media is beginning to emphasize “construction of a powerful economy” and “improvement of people’s lives” once again.

Rodong Shinmun reported on December 19, 2013 that all fields reached their production plans for the year, describing (on page 3) exemplary cases of various party organizations that upheld the legacies of Kim Jong Il and “displayed best practices that actively contributed to improving people’s lives.”

In one article (“Advancement in Science and Technology Is the Lifeline of Constructing a Powerful Economy and Improving People’s Lives”) the importance of science and technology was emphasized. It claimed, “breakthrough in science and technology is the best way to achieve a miracle and innovation in production while protecting the dignity of the nation in the era of knowledge economy.”

Korean Central Television, Korean Central Broadcasting, and Pyongyang Broadcasting encouraged its people to realize “new miracle, new record” in the production fields emphasizing the goals of the Kim Jong Un regime, “construction of economic powerhouse,” and “construction of civilized socialist nation.”

In addition, the military was presented with modern fishing boats. Kim Jong Un’s gift to the military may be interpreted as a display of interest in improving the welfare of soldiers. Kim Jong Un was reported to have made an on-site inspection at the “8.25 Fishery” military unit and expressed interest in the welfare of the soldiers.

Kim Jong Un is also continuing to commend “best citizens” as he delivered letters of appreciation to recognize those that displayed exceptional performance at the construction sites of Sepho Tableland and the residential complex for Kim Il Sung University (KISU) faculty members.

In the Kim Jong Un era, state media is continuing to emphasize the achievements in the construction sectors, calling these times a “new heyday of juche construction.” It listed last year’s construction achievements: completion of Changjon Street, People’s Theatre, Pyongyang Children’s Department Store, Rungra People’s Pleasure Park, People’s Outdoor Skating Rink, Pyongyang Folk Park, and Ryugyong Health Complex.

In addition, it boasted that Munsu Water Park was “miraculously” completed in only nine months. Other achievements were listed: War Memorial, Mirim Riding Club, Ryugyong Dental Hospital, Okryu Children’s Hospital, Unha Scientists Street, and KISU faculty apartment complex.

North Korea is propagating these achievements, heralding the Kim Jong Un era as the “glory days of construction” to promote his accomplishments and consolidate his power base.

During his own period of succession, Kim Jong Il sought the support of the masses by emphasizing construction of Changgwang and Munsu Streets and landmarks such as Juche Tower, Kaeson Mun (Gate of Triumphant Return), and Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.

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Factory automation actively being promoted

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-12-13

Recently the benefits of unmanned factories that do not require much manual labor are being largely advertised in North Korea. The propaganda for automated factories are analyzed to have strengthened from this year.

The Kim Jong Un regime has continuously emphasized the need for factory automation to achieve economic results and is actively publicizing that it is improving the working life for the workers.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on November 19 that the full automation of the production process of bread and confectionaries manufatured at the KPA Food Factory No. 354 was accomplished. It stressed, “The results of the modernization of production plants brought the cost of labor and production down while enhancing the quality of production efficiency and the quality of the products.”

In particular, it boasted “The work experience for female workers without hand labor is bringing them joy and merry tunes.”

On November 16, another North Korean media reported that Kim Jong Un had made an onsite inspection to this factory and commented, “What I find most pleasing is that by automating all production process, hand labor was eliminated and liberated the workers from hard labor.”

The Rodong Sinmun, official newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea, reported on November 19 about the productivity of the Sinuiju Knitting Factory and described that, “through mechanized work processes of hand labor, it is contributing to the improvement in quality and productivity.”

Then on November 12th, the Rodong Sinmun also reported on Kim Jong Un’s onsite inspection to the 11. 2 Factory that supply food items to soldiers and he is reported to have instructed to make the production processes computerized and automated.

In March this year, Kim Jong Un delivered a speech at the State Light Industry Convention where he mentioned to incorporate CNC (computer numerical control) into production and machine equipment and stressed the automation process. He recognized Pyongyang Essential Foodstuff Factory as an exemplary factory for its achievements in automation.

The added emphasis on the factory automation reflects the Kim Jong Un regime’s aspirations in science and technology achievements.

In the Kim Jong Un regime, knowledge economy era places higher importance on knowledge, information, science and technology than physical labor. The current effort in promoting the state-of-the-art technology, including computers, in the unmanned factories demonstrates this point.

In addition, the automation of factories is analyzed to be associated with the new economic improvement measures.

The North Korean media’s coverage on the advantages of the automated factories are named as improved production costs and production efficiency and these concepts are an important market economy components used with the intention of dissemination competition in economic units.

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Kaesong Industrial Complex: 2013 crisis timeline compendium

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

UPDATE 91 (2014-1-14): ROK spends 1/3 of DPRK budget for FY 2913. According to Yonhap:

South Korea spent less than one-third of its fund intended to boost exchange and cooperation with North Korea last year, the unification ministry said Tuesday.

South Korea spent 296.4 billion won (US$280 million) last year, or 27 percent of the 1.09 trillion won earmarked, for the inter-Korean cooperation fund, according to the ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs.

The figure represents the highest level in six years as the government paid insurance money to small South Korean companies that operate plants in the North’s border city of Kaesong.

The South Korean companies received insurance money worth 177.7 billion won due to the months-long shutdown of the inter-Korean joint factory park in Kaesong last year.

In 2008, the ministry spent 18.1 percent of the inter-Korean cooperation fund. The ratio dropped to 8.6 percent and 6.5 percent in 2009 and 2012, respectively, as inter-Korean relations soured.

The factory park resumed operations in September, more than five months after the North unilaterally closed it in anger over joint annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States. In August, Pyongyang pledged not to shut the park down again “under any circumstances.”

More than 44,600 North Koreans work at 120 South Korean firms operating in the park to produce clothes, shoes, watches and other labor-intensive goods. The project serves as a major legitimate revenue source for the impoverished communist country.

UPDATE 90 (2013-12-30): The ink has barely dried before the DPRK has seemed to breech it.  This time the DPRK has demanded that the firms in the KIC pay back taxes. According to Yonhap:

North Korea has demanded that South Korean firms operating in a jointly run factory park in the communist nation pay taxes to North Korea, an official said Monday, in an apparent breach of a September deal.

The North said in a notice last week that the firms in the factory park in the North’s western border city of Kaesong should pay taxes incurred between Jan. 1 and April 8, according to the official handling the issue at the unification ministry.

The ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said the North’s demand did not make any sense, and it was in talks with North Korea over the issue.

The move comes three months after North Korea agreed not to collect taxes from the South Korean firms for 2013 to make up for their losses following its unilateral closure of the factory park on April 9.

In September, the sides resumed the operation of the factory park, a month after the North pledged not to shut it down again “under any circumstances.”

Although the North Korean government took a loss on “tax revenue” it still made plenty of money from the confiscated wages of its workers. According to the article:

The North earned US$80 million in wages for its workers last year.

UPDATE 89 (2013-11-24): Inter-Korean trade has started to recover.

UPDATE 88 (2013-11-13): The Korea Times reports that the Kaesong firms are getting loan payments deferred and a new round of talks is underway.  According to the article:

The government said Wednesday it will allow companies with factories at the inter-Korean Gaeseong Industrial Complex (GIC) to delay payment of loans due within the next six months.

“The due date for loans taken out from the state-run inter-Korean cooperation fund will automatically be pushed back six months,” said Park Soo-jin, vice-spokeswoman of the Ministry of Unification that handles inter-Korean affairs, Wednesday, during a regular briefing. “The amount equals to 46 percent of all loans provided by the fund.”

According to the ministry, 28 out of the total 123 companies, which have taken out loans totaling 9.7 billion won ($ 9 million), will benefit from this measure.

Up to date, companies that have factories in North Korea’s border city of Gaeseong altogether borrowed about 21.3 billion won ($ 19.9 million) from the cooperation fund.

The move by the government is aimed at easing the pressure on GIC companies strapped for cash in the face of declined production as a consequence of the five-month hiatus of operations because of heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula earlier this year.

In the same article, the Korea times reports on the latest round of talks between the DPRK and ROK over the management of the KIC:

Meanwhile, on the same day, working-level officials from the South and North met to discuss ways of better protecting investment at the GIC and promote its internationalization.

The meeting of two sub-panels of the Gaeseong joint management committee were held in the North’s border city, the ministry said.

“The two sub-panel meetings, the first since Sept. 26, are designed to bolster the overall global competitiveness of the GIC,” a ministry official said.

There are altogether two sub-panels under the larger GIC joint management committee that has taken charge of running the complex since operations resumed in September.

During the investment protection panel meeting, the two sides reportedly discussed the establishment of an official dispute settlement regime coupled with how to attract more foreign investors into the GIC.

Previously, the two Koreas agreed to hold an IR session on Oct. 31 but it was canceled when little headway was made in a separate sub-panel meeting to change rules dealing with travel, communication and customs at the joint complex in North Korea.

The ministry also said another meeting to discuss the rights and safety of South Koreans working in Gaeseong will be held today.

But the date for the travel and communication meeting has yet to be fixed because of its sensitivity.

Read previous posts below:

(more…)

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The “Samjiyon”: North Korea’s tablet computer

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Two good reviews of the tablet here:

1. Martyn Williams, North Korea Tech (2013-8-1)

2. Ruediger Frank, 38 North (2013-10-22)

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DPRK making counterfeit Choco Pies?

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Ryongsong-foodstuff-factory-2013-11-21

Pictured Above: Ryongsong Foodstuff Factory, Ryongsong District, Pyongyang (Google Earth)

According to the Daily NK:

The price of a North Korean own-brand “Choco Pie” fell to just 500 won in domestic markets following news that the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) was to reopen, Daily NK has learned. The local version of the chocolate snack, which is made by Orion in South Korea, had previously risen to 3000 won on the back of the protracted KIC closure.

A source in Pyongyang reported to Daily NK on the 19th, “Sometime around May, Yongseong [Ryongsong] Foodstuff Factory in Pyongyang started selling ‘Choco Pies’ in the markets. People hadn’t seen a Choco Pie since Kaesong stopped, so their reaction was really something.”

“People were surprised because the packets said ‘Choco Pie’ and ‘Choco Rice Cake’ [a similar product with a glutinous rice center], and they couldn’t tell the difference between them and those from the ‘neighborhood below’ [South Korea] unless they checked closely,” the source went on. “Sure, people could tell they weren’t the real thing as soon as they ate them, but they were still pretty satisfied.”

According to the source, after South Korean Choco Pies disappeared from North Korean markets following the closure of the KIC, domestic traders started looking into importing the original South Korean and similar Chinese versions of the popular treat. However, the cost and difficulty of doing so meant that very few ended up crossing the border.

Therefore, attention turned to domestic production. The source explained, “Production volumes were low at first, and the state tried to control the flow of the product into the markets. They were 500 won a piece at the end of the first month; but that had risen to 3000 won by the end of last month. But the price sank back down upon news of the KIC re-start.”

“As soon as Choco Pies stopped coming out of the KIC, Yeongsong Foodstuffs Factory moved quickly and must have made quite a bit of money,” he guessed. “They were trying to imitate the South Korean pies but the product was way too sweet, which is partly why the price collapsed on the news of Kaesong.”

Only 60% (32,000) of the pre-closure North Korean workforce (53,000) returned to work when the KIC re-opened for a “trial run” on September 16th. At the same time, South Korean businesses, many facing financial difficulties after five months of nonproductive shutdown, have reportedly reduced the quantity of Choco Pies and other snacks previously distributed to workers. It is unclear what effect these circumstances could have on the price of goods flowing out of the KIC over the longer term.

Read the full story here:
NK Choco Pie Price Falls on KIC News
Daily NK
2013-9-20

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Haeju’s new brewery

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

I am unable to find an article about this in either Rodong Sinmun or KCNA, but according to Yonhap:

North Korea completed construction of a brand new brewery in Haeju city that has up-to-date production facilities, the communist country’s leading newspaper said Thursday.

The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, said the brewery has fermentation, filtering, cold storage and bottling facilities that will allow it to produce alcoholic beverages to benefit people.

It said trial runs have been successfully carried out and efforts are currently underway to secure production materials to make beer.

The latest report comes after microbreweries in the communist country such as Taedonggang Craft Brewery and Yanggakdo Hotel Microbrewery have received acclaim by some for making the best beverages on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. The secret behind the taste, experts have said, lies with North Korea using less rice and corn to make its beverages compared to South Korean manufacturers.

Such quality products have even spurred visits by foreigners who want to taste the beer.

The paper, meanwhile, did not give exact details on the size of the new brewery other than to say it covered several thousand square meters.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea sets up modern brewery in Haeju
Yonhap
2013-9-19

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Premier Pak Pong-ju attends the first extended cabinet meeting

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-5-3

On April 22, for the first time since Premier Pak Pong Ju took office as the new Premier of the DPRK Cabinet, North Korea held an extended cabinet plenary meeting. Cabinet members discussed a variety of topics including the economy, enhancing nuclear capability for military purposes, advancing the party line, the results of the National Light Industry Convention, the first quarter assessment of the People’s Economic Development Plan, and adjustments to be made to the People’s Economic Development Plan during the second quarter.

The meeting has spurred interest in what economic breakthroughs will be made under Premier Pak’s direction. While this was only the first extended meeting held since Premier Pak became premier, there appeared to be no fundamental changes in the party line. The results from the last Politburo extended meeting regarding the National Light Industry Convention and the advancement of the party line in the areas of economics and the nuclear program were mirrored in the cabinet meeting. At the meeting, cabinet members emphasized groundbreaking measures that would contribute to improving the lives of the North Korean people.

At the Light Industry Convention, Kim Jong Un ordered for the normalization of operations of factories that produce consumer goods. As Pak was the official in charge, it is likely that he demanded for specific plans to stabilize production.

At the extended cabinet meeting, measures in response to the international sanctions against the country were also discussed. The KCNA reported the results of the meeting: “Foreign economic business must be strengthened to destroy the blockade of the US imperialists and their followers and put forth tasks and measures to explore favorable conditions to become an economic powerhouse.”

In order to avoid the sanctions of the international community, North Korea must continue foreign trade with China and other countries, as covertly as possible.

With respect to the contents of the meeting, Minju Choson, the state-run North Korean government newspaper, reported that “specific plans were discussed to expand the fuel production and restart Yongbyon GMR (graphite moderated reactor), and educational programs for nuclear experts.” In addition, plans for the development of practical and communications satellite were established and reaffirmed in order to continue the launch of long-range ballistic missiles.

North Korea’s long-range missiles, restart of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, and uranium exploration are under the control of the Second Economic Commission, military defense (military economy affairs), not the Cabinet. The Second Economic Committeeis the central coordinating body of the DPRK’s military-defense industry. Yet, the cabinet declared its decision to continue nuclear and missile launches at the cabinet meeting. This would suggest that the cabinet is supportive of Kim Jong Un’s “byungjin line,” or policy of pushing forwarding economic construction and the building of a nuclear force.

Expectations that cabinet reform would be mentioned did not come to fruition. There is a probability that Premier Pak is preparing to implement in earnest the ‘6-28 Economic Management Improvement Policy’ which has been in the works internally since last year.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, since delivering the New Year’s Address last January, has promoted Premier Pak as the leader most qualified to execute plans to make North Korea an economic power. However, it is unclear whether Premier Pak will be able to meet such a challenge given the limited reforms in progress and the deterioration of the external situation. On the other hand, Premier Pak chose a cooperative farm for his first site visit which suggests that the North Korean cabinet may concentrate on agricultural sector this year.

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KCNA: First quarterly plan overfulfilled in Economic fields in DPRK

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

According to KCNA (2013-4-10):

A production upsurge was witnessed in various fields of the economy in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea during the first three months this year.

The quarterly coal output quota was hit at 101 percent nationwide. Coal production increased sharply at the Kaechon, Tokchon and Kangdong area coal-mining complexes.

The Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex, a giant steel maker, finished the quarterly pig production plan at 105 percent.

The Taean Heavy Machine Complex, a major generator producer, topped the plan for March by 30 percent.

The same is true for other machinery makers, including Rakwon and Ryongsong Machine complexes.

A production upswing was also seen in the timber industry, with its quarterly plan topped at 100.5 percent.

In particular, forestry stations under the Jagang Provincial Forestry Management Bureau made fresh innovations in logging.

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Kim Jong-un details issues facing light industry [consumer goods] sector

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-3-29

On March 18, Kim Jong-un opened North Korea’s first national light industry convention in ten years, calling for efforts to be focused on the development of light industry. The hosting of this national meeting of light industry workers is somewhat atypical behavior for the leadership, as this event was held amidst military exercises aimed at demonstrating North Korea’s combat readiness.

In his speech, Kim Jong-un pointed out a number of issues which are currently affecting North Korea’s light industry sector including supply shortages, low quality, a high level of dependence on overseas suppliers of raw and other materials, workers’ ‘defeatism’, and a preference for imported goods.

He also emphasized the need for economic improvement through the development of light industry, promoting the production of consumer goods for the public, and modernization of the light industry sector on a scientific basis. In touching on these areas, Kim reiterated points made in his New Year’s address earlier this year.

Kim Jong-un’s itemization of the issues negatively impacting the light industry sector is receiving particular attention. During the Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il eras, progress reports tended to exaggerate positive results, with positive assessments of current performance and rosy projects for the future. Comparatively, Kim Jong-un’s unfiltered account of the state of the light industry sector in North Korea seems somewhat unconventional when juxtaposed against the propaganda of past regimes.

In Kim Jong-un’s words, “in the struggle to enhance livelihoods and to build an economically powerful country, the light industry and agriculture sectors must adopt the course of combining their fire power to deliver a decisive strike.” He further said, “Despite the current precarious situation, light industry, as this year’s first priority for economic development, will quickly solve the issues affecting livelihoods. Through the light industry, we will demonstrate the superiority of the socialist system and our ability to maintain livelihoods. This will be done in the name of advancing the great revolutionary event of national unification.”

Kim Jong-un indicated that the greatest issues facing North Korean light industry today are supply shortages and low quality. “Currently at light industrial factories, we are unable to accomplish the teachings left by Kim Jung-il. Whether exhibiting a new product or sample or displaying products in a store we must mass produce items and return them to the people.”

He continued, “The culture- and lifestyle-related demands of our people are rising by the day. No matter how many consumer goods are produced, if they are not of a quality high enough to meet the demands of the people using them, they are useless. We must produce consumer goods favored by the people and that receive good reviews. We must produce goods impeccable in the global marketplace.”

Kim Jong-un also pointed out that “high dependence on imports of raw materials and construction materials was another serious problem currently facing the light industry sector.” He said that “in order to realize domestic production of raw and other materials, the chemical industry must play a major role.” Kim claimed that “an economic business network must be established among factories and enterprises in the chemical industry” and that “a variety of chemical products composed of high quality textiles and plastics must be produced.”

“Currently, the most significant problem is that our workers do not feel responsible for the failures of their work sector and work units. Instead they have succumbed to defeatism and no longer put forth their greatest effort.” Kim added that “a preference for imports among workers stands as an obstacle to development of light industry.” He went on to say that “we must do away with the tendency to buy from other countries which have different facilities and the tendency to bring in foreign currency while claiming that we must import because our factories are modernizing.”

Since the 2003 ‘National Light Industry Sector Workers’ Conference’ which ran from March 23-24, North Korea has not held a national meeting of local light industry workers.

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Kim Jong-un gives speech on light industry

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

According to Yonhap:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for concentrated efforts to build up the country’s light industrial sector that has direct bearing on the lives of everyday people, state media reported Tuesday.

The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) monitored in Seoul said Kim stressed the importance of the sector in a speech given at the national meeting of light industrial workers held on Monday in Pyongyang.

“Kim Jong-un in his speech said that the light industrial front along with the agricultural front are the main fronts on which efforts should be focused in the drive for building an economic power and improving the people’s living standards,” the official news wire service reported.

It also said that Kim pointed out that light industry is the main target for the concentration of the country’s resources, even under heightened tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula, the media report said.

The KCNA said Kim emphasized the goal of the country is to prevent a new war from breaking out on the Korean Peninsula and to strive for economic growth under peaceful circumstances to highlight the superiority of Pyongyang’s socialist system and hasten eventual unification of the two Koreas.

The news report said the leader pointed out that there is a pressing need to locally produce materials and parts for the light industrial sector and ordered the development of the chemical sector and build-up of regional manufacturing capabilities.

“It is necessary to make the most effective use of existing production potential to radically increase the production of consumer goods and push forward with the modernization of light industry, and make it the world’s standard,” the leader told people gathered at the meeting.

Kim, moreover, called for creating up-to-date managerial and corporate strategies, and doing away with the inflexible attitudes of workers and managers in the light industry field.

North Korea watchers in Seoul said the North Korean leader’s latest remarks on light industry mirrors what he said in the New Year’s address on Jan. 1. The light industry gathering is the first to be held in 10 years. The last time such a gathering was held was in late March 2003.

Chang Yong-seok, senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, said the emphasis on light industry at a time when Pyongyang has placed the country in battle mode is a sign that the North does not want to ignore the economy or its impact on the people.

Others such as Yang Moo-jin, political science professor at the University of North Korean Studies, claimed that the KCNA report and the sudden holding of the meeting may be a sign that Pyongyang wants to end the current confrontational stance with the outside world and focus on its economy.

“This may be an indirect message (of reconciliation) sent to South Korea, the United States and China,” the expert said.

Reflecting this view, an official at the unification ministry, who declined to be identified, said Kim’s interest in light industry may be due to the lack of progress made so far, and the need to invite foreign capital to get various commercial projects moving.

“The North can’t do this by itself so it may be seeking outside cooperation,” he said.

KCNA commentary here and here. Rodong Sinmun has coverage here.

NK Leadership Watch has some more information here.

Daily NK has coverage of the speech here.

The Daily NK also reports that light industrial production has been hampered by recent military mobilizations:

The mobilization of factory workers for military training exercises is having a considerable effect on economic activity in North Korea, Daily NK has learned. In particular, much light industrial production capacity has already been idle for around a month.

A source from Chongjin in North Hamkyung Province told Daily NK on the 18th, “The only factory work teams that are operational right now are those making stuff for the military; almost everyone else has been mobilized for the military exercises. Since other teams are not producing anything, workers in them are not being given food, not even for just a few meals each, and this is making life even harder for them and their families.”

In North Korea, most factories and enterprises are so-called ‘self-sustaining’ entities, in practice meaning that they are sustained through the selling of goods to wholesalers or directly in the ’jangmadang’ (state-sanctioned market). Income from sales is used to finance the purchase of additional production inputs. There are some differences across regions and types of enterprise, but on average enterprises are permitted to allocate around 30% of production to this purpose.

The source went on, “For example, all the staff in Chongjin Shoe Factory have been mobilized apart from the ones doing military footwear, and the workers in that section are also having a hard time because they have not been mobilized precisely in order to make excessive amounts of that product,” before explaining, “Normally that work team would produce its quota of military footwear and then turn to civilian production and sustain itself by selling the output, but for the last month all they’ve been doing is making military goods.”

In North Korea, it is not only ‘military factories’ that produce military goods; rather, every factory has a work team dedicated to the production of one military item or another. According to the source, for a month there has been no production on other lines, while only the military lines are operational.

“In the case of Chongjin Wood Processing Factory, they’ve been producing nothing but ammunition boxes for a month, where they were previously accustomed to producing chairs, wardrobes, and cupboards for storing bedding,” the source said. “The workers had been living reasonably well, but right now they are complaining about how tough it is.”

In the case of Kimchaek Iron and Steel Complex, one of the largest industrial entities in the region, among many tens of work teams only the personnel required for weapons production are still working; the remaining thousands of workers have been mobilized for military training.

The source noted, “Workers in any and all enterprises are used to receiving a share of production with which to maintain themselves and their families, but right now, with having to spend days in the mountains or down in underground tunnels, their hardships are being significantly exacerbated.” There is a trickle down effect in the wider economy, he added, saying, “The problems extend down to traders, who are accustomed to getting the factory distribution to sell.”

Read the full article here:
N. Korean leader calls for concentrated efforts to build up light industry
Yonhap
2013-3-19

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