Posts tagged Kim Jong Il
North Korean state media has reported on a visit by Kim Jong Il to the “May 11 Factory,” which it described as “a modern scientific research and production center which researches and develops varieties of electronic goods including liquid crystal display TV sets.”
The KCNA report mentioned the LCD televisions several times and was accompanied with many photos of the TVs, so they appear to be something the North Korean government is proud of. There’s a gallery of stills from the KRT evening news report below.
Look through them and you’ll notice the pictures all appear to show the final stages of assembly where the case is put around the electronics and screen. There are no pictures showing earlier stages in the assembly process or the prior stages to that, such as the fitting of components to circuit boards.
There is also a lack of parts around the workers. In a typical LCD TV factory there would be crates of spare parts and casings nearby, so the workers don’t have to walk far. It’s quite possible the layout of this factory is different, but if so it’s probably not as efficient.
It’s reminiscent of a March television report that purported to show North Korea’s first laptop PC factory. It turned out at least one of the laptops is likely being made in China and shipped to North Korea.
As in the case of the laptops, it’s impossible to tell if they are from an outside source unless someone can identify the televisions on show. The front designs of the TVs are rather generic so they’re difficult to identify. In any case copying of popular designs is rampant in the LCD TV industry.
Perhaps the best clue is picture 17 in the upper right. A TV is lying on its face in the foreground and the rear of the case is visible. The rear panels are mre unique and much less likely to be copied than the front panels.
The factory, said KCNA, “is capable of producing hundreds of thousands of liquid crystal display TV sets in a year.”
Whether or not the factory actually makes the TV sets in question, or other devices, the report underlines it’s part of North Korea’s drive to improve the level of science and technology in the country.
These shining achievements are a clear proof of the validity and vitality of the Party’s policy on taking hold on science and technology as the lifeline for the building of an economic power, he added. – Korea Central News Agency, Pyongyang, July 28, 2011.
Kim Jong Il was accompanied on the visit by next-in-line son Kim Jong Un.
North Korea Leadership Watch also spotted the presence of Jon Il Chun in official photographs. Jon, according to the website, is daily manager of Office #39 under the party’s Finance and Accounting Department. Office #39 is widely believed to be the organization through which North Korea brings in much of its foreign currency. More details on NK Leadership Watch here and NK Econwatch here.
Kim Jong Il’s tour of China at the end of May saw the North Korean leader take in several high-tech factories and companies.
China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast a comprehensive report on the visit (aired after Kim had left Beijing) and provided details on some of the tour stops.
They included Yangzhou Smart Valley, the country’s Smart Grid Demonstration Center. There Kim got a demonstration of an e-book reader. He also visited Panda Group, a large manufacturer of consumer electronics products, and Beijing Digital China, an IT services company.
Here are some pictures from the trip, courtesy of CCTV:
Alongside a call to reduced tensions with its southern neighbor, North Korea’s New Year joint editorial called for a significant effort to modernize and build up its light-industry sector this year. Central to this task will be the adoption of computer-controlled machinery, so-called CNC (computer numeric control) equipment.
So it comes as no surprise that factories and CNC technology featured big Kim Jong Il’s on-site guidance tours in January. His first visit of the year was to the Nampho Glass Bottle Factory, reported KCNA.
“He praised the workers of the factory and builders and their helpers for their feats performed in building such factory requiring cutting-edge technology by their own efforts with home-made equipment and indigenous technology,” KCNA, January 12, 2011.
CNC isn’t new in most countries, but it’s only in the last few years that enthusiastic reports about its adoption and appearance on North Korean factory floors have appeared.
Three days later, KCNA reported:
“General Secretary Kim Jong Il provided field guidance to the Taegwan Glass factory which has been successfully put on a CNC basis.”
“Watching CNC-based machines and a variety of products, he was greatly satisfied to learn that the workers of the factory made leaping progress in the production of glass products by successfully putting the production processes on a modern and scientific basis. He highly appreciated their feats,” KCNA, January 15, 2011.
Here’s a list of Kim Jong Il’s trips from January, as reported in official media. The emphasis in January has been on light industry and factories producing food and goods for daily life. I’ve marked those at which state media coverage noted CNC machinery.
Jan. 12, Nampo, South Pyongan Province
– Nampho Glass Bottle Factory – CNC
Jan. 14, North Pyongan Province
– Amnokgang Gauge and Instrument General Factory – CNC
– Suphung Bearing Factory
– Amnokgang Daily Necessities Factory – CNC
Jan. 15, North Pyongan Province
– Taegwan Glass factory – CNC
Jan. 18, South Pyongan Provincial
– January 18 General Machinery Plant – CNC
Jan. 19, Pyongyang
– Bioengineering Branch of the State Academy of Sciences
– Pyongyang Central Zoo
Jan. 20, Pyongyang
– November 20 Factory
– Ryongaksan Spring Water Factory
Jan. 21, Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province
– Jongbangsan Combined Foodstuff Factory
– Sariwon Essential Foodstuff Factory
– Sariwon Jongbang Foodstuff Producers’ Cooperative
– North Hwanghae Provincial People’s Study House
Jan. 22, Pyongyang
– Mansudae Art Studio
Jan. 24, Pyongyang
– Kim Jong Il Receives Egyptian Businessman
Jan 26, Unknown (likely Pyongyang)
– Electronic Band of the Song and Dance Ensemble of the KPA Air Force Command
Jan. 30, Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province
– February 8 Vinalon Complex
– Ryongsong Machine Complex
– Hungnam Fertilizer Complex
Jan. 31, Unknown
– Art squad of KPA Large Combined Unit 324
The dates are those on which the visit was reported by state media. IT’s worth noting that with the call for reduced tensions that also appeared in the editorial, no military-related visits were reported.
Curtis has a good explainer on CNC and its introduction in North Korea on NKEconWatch.
Kim Jong Il has called for the expansion of a domestic computer network, according to domestic media reports. His comments were made earlier this month, when he visited the recently-built North Hwanghae Provincial People′s Study House, said KCNA and state radio.
The study house was opened in September 2010 and covers 4,500 square meters, according to a BBC Monitoring transcript of a state radio bulletin broadcast on Jan. 21.
In has a capacity of hundreds of thousands of books, databases, seats for 500 and is connected to the remote lecture service that was started by the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang last year, said state media. (See “Distance education network reportedly launched,” Nov. 17, 2010; and “A closer look at the e-learning system,” Dec. 8, 2010.)
Kim Jong Il toured the study house and visited the distance-education room and an electronic reading room, according to a KCNA report.
After seeing the recently-completed rooms, he reportedly noted the need to expand the national Kwangmyong intranet service (an Internet-like network that is closed off from the global Internet) to all study houses in the nation.
Saying that the reading [of books and materials] via the computer networks run by the North Hwanghae Provincial People’s Study House is not only an economical, but also an effective way of enabling the multitude of people to read in any place, Comrade Kim Jong Il noted the need to normalize the computer network service between the Grand People’s Study House and county libraries so as to scientifically organize and manage reading as required by visitors to the study house and thus continuously raise the level of their technological knowledge. – Korea Central Broadcasting Station news, 8pm, Jan. 21, 2010 via BBC Monitoring.
Pyongyang, September 12 (KCNA) — General Secretary Kim Jong Il provided field guidance to the Manpho Unhwa Factory alive with the dynamic drive for pushing back the frontiers of latest science and technology.
Full Story: KCNA
Pyongyang, April 12 (KCNA) — General Secretary Kim Jong Il gave field guidance to the newly-built E-Library at Kim Il Sung University.