Some interesting things…

On January 18th, 2011, Kim Jong-il visited the “technologically updated” January 18 General Machinery Plant (1월18일기계종합공장, pictured above on Google Earth).  Usually when dates are incorporated into facility names they are public holidays (April 25th House of Culture–4.25 is KPA founding day) or the day Kim Il-sung visited the facility. Since I cannot find a North Korean Holiday on 1.18, I assume this is the day Kim Il-sung first visited the facility.

According to KCNA:

General Secretary Kim Jong Il gave field guidance to the technologically updated January 18 General Machinery Plant.

He went round the inside and outside of the plant to learn in detail about its technological updating and production there.

The workers of the plant have finished the work for its modernization and scientification based on the latest technology by their own efforts and wisdom and energetically developed new technologies to bring about a radical change in production.

Leader Kim Jong Il expressed great satisfaction over this success, watching the production processes equipped with home-made CNC-based machines and new machinery.

The plant has undergone radical changes to meet the need of the knowledge-based economy era thanks to the brisk mass technical innovation movement conducted by its officials, workers and technicians true to the Party’s policy of attaching importance to science and technology, he said, adding: This signal advance is a display of the great mental power of the heroic Korean workers who have always won victories through progress and innovation.

He also made the rounds of newly-built canteen and other cultural and welfare facilities for the workers to acquaint himself with the cultural life and supply service at the plant.

Seeing neat and clean dining room, kitchen, bean store and processing room, he noted that the plant has made signal changes in the supply service in a few years through its careful arrangement and redoubled efforts with the proper viewpoint on the workers. And he expressed great satisfaction over the provision of good living conditions to the workers.

The plant has an important role to play in the development of the nation’s machine building industry, he said, advancing the tasks for it.

Its most important task is to keep the production of machinery going at a high rate and produce more new-type efficient machinery, he said. He set the goal for the plant to hit in the near future and indicated orientation and ways to do it.

The officials of the plant should energetically guide the masses as the supporter and implementer of the Party’s policies and the fighter standing in the van of the drive to devotedly carry out the tasks set forth by the Party, he urged.

He expressed great expectation and conviction that the workers of the plant would creditably perform their role as the vanguard and shock brigade in implementing the WPK’s economic policy.

This factory goes by several similar names, but NTI reports:

According to a source in the South Korean military, this factory produces Scud missile engines. Han Tŏk Su, former chairman of the pro-North Korean General Federation of Korean Residents in Japan (Choch’ongnyŏn), reportedly visited the January 18th Machine Factory in April 1987. His guide told him the facility had been built under an apartment complex, and that very few people living in Kaech’ŏn knew about the factory. Han was also told that the factory mainly produced missiles, tanks and motors. According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, this factory produces rocket engines.

This was Kim’s second official visit to the factory. The first was on June 10, 1998.


On January 3, 2011, North Korean television broadcast from the Pongchang District Coal Mine (봉창지구탄광).  This is interesting because the mine is located inside Kwan-li-so 18.  Pictured above is the perimeter of the facility identified in The Hidden Gulag.  I posted the relevant television footage to YouTube here which you can use to match up with Google Earth satellite imagery if you wish.  The DPRK might like to give the impression that it is an ordinary coal mine, but most of their other mines do not have security perimeters.


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