North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was on Saturday reported by state media to have visited a number of economic sites in the country’s north-western Jagang province, in his first public appearance since the country’s test-firing of several missiles on May 7.
The visits saw the DPRK leader tour, among other sites, a machine tool factory, a general precision machine plant, a tractor factory, and a “General Machine Factory” – facilities which have in the past been tied to the country’s military-industrial complex.
During a tour of the February 8 General Machine Factory – reported to have been the site of a July 2017 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch – Kim was reported to have urged local workers to modernize the plant.
“Even though the factory has made remarkable progress as against the past, we should not be contented with this,” Kim was quoted as having said in a report by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“The Supreme Leader called on the factory to set an example and generalize it across the country so that everyone can turn out with clear understanding of what the modernization intended by the Party is,” it continued.
Speaking during a visit to the Kanggye Tractor plant, Kim was also said to have “appreciated the plant for having produced highly efficient machinery and equipment conducive to the national economy and the strengthening of the defense capabilities.”
The visits also saw North Korean media continue an increasingly common pattern under Kim Jong Un, in which the DPRK leader is reported to single out and scold local officials for their work and urge them to improve local facilities.
Speaking during a visit to the 250-mile Journey for Learning Schoolchildren’s Palace, for one, the leader reportedly criticized the facility for having “not been built in a charming way.”
“He said that formalism, expediency and slipshod manner remain strong in the designing field despite lots of call for embodying the principle of ‘conveniences first’,” KCNA reported.
“Saying that the construction and renovation of schoolchildren’s palaces are now under way in other provinces, he said that it is necessary to set things right to prevent the similar inclination from happening in order to give real satisfaction to schoolchildren.”
During a meeting with local party officials to discuss plans for the redevelopment of Kanggye and Manpho Cities, too, Kim was reported to have complained that construction in the cities had previously been “haphazardly done.”
“Most of buildings are laid out in disorderly manner only to make the cities look like architecture history museums,” the KCNA reported the DPRK leader as having said.
“He said that the blocks should be separately arranged, namely a district of ideological education, industrial district, cultural district, etc. and corresponding maps showing the bird’s eye view of the blocks should be worked out and the construction should be carried out on an annual basis.”
Kim also during a tour of the Kanggye General Precision Machine Plant reported to have to expressed concern about the welfare of workers at the facility and ordered steps be taken to improve work conditions.
“He was concerned about the workers working at the work-site with deafening mechanical noise and gave instructions to push ahead with the work to establish cultured way in production so as to reduce noise and improve the labor environment and conditions,” the DPRK leader said.
In addition to local officials, Kim was on his visit accompanied by a number of top aides, including close advisor Jo Yong Won and his chief secretary Kim Chang Son.
He was also, notably, joined by Hyon Song Wol, a recently-promoted member of the ruling party’s Central Committee and head of the country’s Samjiyon Orchestra — potentially hinting at a growing political role for the former singer.
Edited by Chad O’Carroll
Featured image: KCNA
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was on Saturday reported by state media to have visited a number of economic sites in the country's north-western Jagang province, in his first public appearance since the country's test-firing of several missiles on May 7.
The visits saw the DPRK leader tour, among other sites, a machine tool factory, a general precision machine plant, a tractor factory, and a "General Machine Factory" – facilities which have in the past been tied to the country's military-industrial complex.