DPRK preparing for jump in construction demand

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 09-8-13-1

As North Korea continues to pursue the creation of a Strong and Prosperous Nation by 2012, it is now reportedly building a large-scale construction materials facility to meet expected growth in building demand. North Korean authorities have designated the Daedong River Tile Factory, visited by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on the 13th of last month, as a large-scale construction materials distribution center, and expect the second stage of its construction to be complete by April 2012.

The Tongil Sinbo, a weekly North Korean publication, printed in its recent (July 18) edition that upon completion of the second stage of construction, the facility would be capable of producing 225 million cubic meters of tiles, shingles, plastic materials and other building supplies. The first stage of construction began in July 2003, and was only recently completed, after five years and nine months, opening on April 15. North Korea is expected to invest 10.5 billion Won (80.77 million USD) into completing the second stage of construction, a considerable investment in light of the troubles facing the North‘s economy.

Upon completion of the facility, taking up more than 225 thousand pyong, it will produce indoor and outdoor tile, polished marble tiles, composite glass tiles and other porcelain and plastic products, as well as pre-fabricated housing components and coal gas. According to the newspaper, it will also house its own electrical generator.

When Kim Jong Il visited the factory, located near the Chollima Steel Complex in South Pyeongan Province, he declared the site to “hold a critical role in the development of the country’s construction industry,” stating that upon completion of the second stage of construction, the factory would serve as a “large-scale base for all modern construction projects.”

North Korea is currently pressing ahead with large-scale redevelopment projects in Pyongyang and other major cities, with one goal being the construction of 100,000 new homes by the year 2012. The Workers’ Party of Korea newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, has called for all citizens to “make something from nothing” in an effort to build up each region. One point of interest to North Korea-watchers as this massive construction scheme unfolds is that a new position was created to oversee the project, and Kim’s third son, Kim Jong-un, was appointed.


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