October 02, 2022

Party favors: North Korean officials gifted smartphones after major conference

New phones may help mid-level apparatchiks stay connected to central authorities in Pyongyang

North Korean authorities appeared to give out new smartphones to attendees of a major party conference in Pyongyang last week, according to NK News analysis of state television footage, in a sign of the party’s efforts to overcome shortages and improve communications.

Korean Central Television (KCTV) on March 3 showed dozens of attendees of the Second Conference of Primary Party Committee Secretaries holding what appeared to be black phone boxes and playing with gold-colored smartphones in the halls of the event venue, possibly after the event ended on Feb. 28 or after follow-up lectures in the days after.