중앙데일리

Kim Jong-un pushing ‘military-first’

Nov 19,2010
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s youngest son is making unofficial rounds to munitions factories in the communist state, encouraging the modernization of technology in the manufacture of weapons and following his father’s footsteps in songun, or “military-first,” politics, according to U.S.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Wednesday.

Kim Jong-un wants all factories to implement computer numerical control (CNC), which enables the automation of machines with computer-assisted technology. CNC has been connected to the young leader-to-be since last year when he was tapped for succession. South Korean government officials have said that the technical term is being used in connection with Kim Jong-un because the technology is new in North Korea - suggesting the rise of a young new leader intent on modernizing military production.

“With news that Kim Jong-un will visit a munitions factory in Chongjin, North Hamgyong, the factory has been busy with movement. He is coming to inspect the CNC of the factory’s production line,” said a well-informed source cited by RFA. The factory, which is in an area of northeastern North Korea located about 50 miles from the Chinese border, is known to produce shells for multiple-launch artillery pieces. It was also mentioned in a recent broadcast by the state’s official television network for its implementation of CNC technology along with other machinery factories, “standing at the cutting-edge of machinery development,” KCTV said.

According to the source, Kim Jong-un is visiting production lines in North Hamgyong and Jagang, and munitions factories were the first to receive orders to implement CNC to “set an example” for the entire country.

The new technology is utilized to develop more weapons, which could easily attack Seoul and the metropolitan area and could put more pressure on the South Korean government.

North Korea has been urging talks with Seoul to resume cross-border tourism while simultaneously trying to hint that it wants to return to the six-party talks on denuclearization.

Kim Jong-un was also reported to have shown a friendly side to those who have cooperated with his CNC implementation plan. Factories that he visited are reportedly being given incentives, such as cooking oil for workers’ families. Kim Jong-un’s visits mirror those of his father’s past field guidance trips to various places in the communist state and indicate he is well on his way to becoming the next North Korean leader. The field guidance trips are usually touted by the North’s official media without exact dates of when the visits actually happened.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]



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