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Kim Jong Un Visits 11 May Factory, Views Mobile ‘Phone Handset

11 Aug
Kim Jong Un gives instructions on production at the 11 May Factory, after viewing the "Arirang" model handheld 'phone.  Seen in attendance is Ri Jae Il (L), a KWP senior deputy department director and close aide to Kim Jong Un (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un gives instructions on production at the 11 May Factory, after viewing the “Arirang” model handheld ‘phone. Seen in attendance is Ri Jae Il (L), a KWP senior deputy department director and close aide to Kim Jong Un (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the assembly shop at 11 May Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un tours the assembly shop at 11 May Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

DPRK state media reported on 10 August (Saturday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) toured the 11 May Factory.  He was accompanied by Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Deputy Department Directors Ri Jae Il (Ri Ch’ae-il) and Kim Pyong Ho (Kim Pyo’ng-ho).  Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearances were visits to the construction sites of the Mirim Riding Club and Munsu Wading Pool.

A view of the "Aririang" model phone handset, produced by the 11 May Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

A view of the “Aririang” model phone handset, produced by the 11 May Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun).

Kim Jong Un toured various shops in the factory, including the assembly shop. He was briefed about the mobile ‘phone handset model “Arirang.”  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un “highly appreciated the creative ingenuity and patriotic enthusiasm with which the officials and employees of the factory laid a solid foundation for mass-producing hand phones by building a new modern hand phone production process” and “praised them for developing an application program in Korean style which provides the best convenience to the users while strictly guaranteeing security.”  After being briefed about the “Arirang” phone’s performance he said “that a hand phone is convenient for its user when that part of the phone is sensitive” and “these hand phones will be very convenient for their users as their camera function has high pixels.”  KCNA reported that production of the “Arirang” ‘phones began “only a few days ago and were in high demand by people.”  Whilst looking at the logo on the ‘phone, Kim Jong Un said “that mass-production of goods with DPRK trademark can instill national pride and self-respect into the Korean people” and “how nice to see hand phones being successfully produced with indigenous technology.”  According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un said that “only when the quality of products is improved while boosting their production, people will like home-made things and they will be in high demand” then issued instructions for the 11 May Factory.

Kim Jong Un previously visited the 11 May Factory in late July 2011 with his father, late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il).

Kim Jong Un (R) visits the 11 May Factory with his father, late leader Kim Jong Il, in July 2011 (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap).

Kim Jong Un (R) visits the 11 May Factory with his father, late leader Kim Jong Il, in July 2011 (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap).

DPRK TV News Reports on Richardson-Schmidt Visit to Grand People’s Study House and KIS University

10 Jan
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) takes a photograph of the Chuch'e Tower (R) from the balcony of the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (L) takes a photograph of the Chuch’e Tower (R) from the balcony of the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

DPRK state media aired a brief story (33 seconds) at the end of its 9 January (Wednesday) television newscast which showed former Governor Bill Richardson, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen and members of their delegation touring the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang.  The television news story showed Richardson and members of the delegation visiting a circulation desk at the DPRK’s national library, using the library’s computer terminals and taking souvenir photographs of the Chuch’e Tower from the study house’s balcony.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (2nd L) and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (3rd L) begin a tour of the Grand People's Study House in central Pyongyang on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (2nd L) and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (3rd L) begin a tour of the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

The Richardson-Schmidt delegation visit an information desk at the Grand People's Study House (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

The Richardson-Schmidt delegation visit an information desk at the Grand People’s Study House (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen uses a computer workstation during a tour of the Grand People's Study House, the DPRK's national library, on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen uses a computer workstation during a tour of the Grand People’s Study House, the DPRK’s national library, on 9 January 2013 (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

DPRK state media also aired a brief story (32 seconds) on Gov. Richardson, Mr. Schmidt and the delegation touring the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University toward the end of the 8 January (Tuesday) newscast.

Eric Schmidt (2nd L) talks with Bill Richardson (3rd L) during a tour of the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University.  Also in attendance is Korea expert Dr. Tony Namkung (L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Eric Schmidt (2nd L) talks with Bill Richardson (3rd L) during a tour of the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University. Also in attendance is Korea expert Dr. Tony Namkung (L) (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson, Eric Schmidt and members of their delegation tour a classroom at the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson, Eric Schmidt and members of their delegation tour a classroom at the E-Library at Kim Il Sung University (Photo: KCTV screengrab)

Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt (C) tour a lecture hall at Kim Il Sung University's E-Library (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

Bill Richardson and Eric Schmidt (C) tour a lecture hall at Kim Il Sung University’s E-Library (Photos: KCTV screengrabs)

During its stay in the DPRK, the delegation met with several groups of DPRK officials, including a vice minister of foreign affairs, and visited the Korea Computer Center and the Ku’msusan Memorial Palace of the Sun.  With the exception of these two brief stories on Korean Central Television [KCTV] news and several short news items in DPRK print media, the delegation’s visit was a low-visibility event in DPRK state media reporting.

The delegation departed Pyongyang on 10 January (Thursday) and arrived in Beijing.  Richardson said that DPRK officials assured him at one meeting that a 44-year old Korean American who was arrested and detained since early November 2012 was in good health and would soon be put on trial.  Richardson also said that during an interaction with DPRK officials he asked the country to stop nuclear and missile testing.  At a media availability in Beijing, Richardson and Schmidt said that they encouraged DPRK officials to expand access to the internet and cell ‘phones.  According to The Guardian Richardson said that “The internet is important for the welfare of the North Korean people, to expand mobile technology, to expand cell phone use” and Schmidt remarked that “As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world, their economic growth and so forth, and it will make it harder for them to catch up economically.”

Naguib Sawiris Arrives in the DPRK

5 Oct

Naguib Sawiris (3rd L) and a delegation from the Orascom Group pose for a commemorative photograph after arriving at Pyongyang Airport on 4 October 2012 (Photo: KCNA screen grab)

DPRK state media reported on 4 October (Thursday) that Orascom Group executive Naguib Sawiris and a small delegation arrived in the DPRK.  KCNA reported that Sawiris and the Orascom party visited the equestrian statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang.  The Orascom delegation also visited the Pyongyang Children’s Foodstuff Factory. It is not clear with whom Naguib Sawiris will meet during his stay in the country.  News of his arrival in the DPRK was included in KCNA’s report on his paying tribute to the KIS and KJI statues, and was reported on Korean Central Television’s [KCTV] news broadcast the same day.  However, there was no public report as to what DPRK officials greeted him on arrival at Pyongyang Airport.  When Sawiris last visited the country in February 2012 he was greeted by Joint-Venture Investment Committee [JVIC] Vice Chairman Ri Kwang Gun (Ri Kwang-ku’n) and DPRK elite Ri Chol (Ri Ch’o’l).

Naguib Sawiris (R) tours the Pyongyang Children’s Foodstuffs Factory (Photo: Rodong Sinmun)

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