Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Kim Jong Un’s last observed appearance was his attendance at a photo-op with exemplary KPA personnel to the January 18 General Machine Factory.
DPRK state media reported on August 10 (Wednesday) that Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) visited the January 18 General Machine Factory in South P’yo’ngan Province. Also in attendance were Cho Yo’ng-wo’n (Jo Yong Won), deputy director of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK) Organization Guidance Department; Yu Ch’in (Yu Jin), deputy director of the WPK Munitions Industry Department; and Pak T’ae-so’ng (Pak T’ae Song), Chairman of the South P’yo’ngan WPK Provincial Committee.
Jong Un’s first stop was a vantage point where he could see the renovated factory, and remarked “it looked nicer than what he saw last year and its production processes have been updated to successfully develop and produce world-level machines in a short span of time. Its huge remodeling project was difficult but it splendidly undertook the project with determination.” He noted that, “every place of the plant is associated with footprints of President Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and leader Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il)” and underscored, “the need for its workers to intensify the drive for keeping the production going at a high rate with the pride and honor of working at the plant associated with immortal leadership exploits of the great leaders and the eldest son-like plant and pivot and core one in the nation’s machine-building industry.”
Jong Un then toured the manufacturing, assembly and other areas of the plant where he was briefed about the production. He noted that, “the plant has been put on a scientific, IT, automated and unmanned basis on a high level and a flexible manufacturing system established to cut down the production cycle and boost output while saving manpower as much as possible and register laudable successes in raising quality. The performance of machines serially produced at the plant markedly improved as compared with that in the past. They could match the products well known to the world in quality index.”
Jong Un recalled that the January 18 General Machine Plant “developed and manufactured new types of machines in cooperation with a relevant unit.” Stress was placed that “this is of great significance in developing the nation’s machine-building industry.” Jong Un said that “the longer that he sees the machines, the dearer and more precious treasures they look like as they were designed and produced with indigenous wisdom and efforts” and “that to produce modern Korean-style machines with indigenous efforts, technology and resources is an important work for preserving the national self-respect.” He said he was “pleased to hear the sound of machines running to boost production at the palace-like worksites updated at a high level.” He then “praised the officials, scientists, technicians and workers of the plant for locally developing and producing world-level machines.” Kim Jong Un issued instructions to the managers and employees of the factory “underscoring the importance of its duty.”
Kim Jong Un moved on to the facilities for the workers. This included stopping off at a gym, swimming pool, dining room, bath house, beauty salon and other various place. He said, “They are splendid, indeed, and such facilities can be built in our country, the society for the workers. The officials and servants of the facilities should steadily improve service and management and operation so that the Party’s care may better reach the workers.” He told the workers of the plant to “dash ahead at the speed of Mallima and bring about a great leap forward in producing ultra-modern machines urgently required by various sectors of the national economy.” He issued instructions to “serially produce the state-of-the-art machines newly manufactured by the plant and the militant tasks to be carried out by it in the future and personally took measures for doing so.”
The last time he visited the January 18 General Machine Factory, one of the DPRK’s largest producers of missile and rocket engines, was in December 2015. At this visit, it was observed that industrial equipment at the factory used ABB-manufactured robotic arms. This ABB robotic arm is possibly an IRB 6660.