[FOUNTAIN]You can hide, but you cannot escapeNorth Korea’s military industrial complex is top secret. The level of secrecy is so great that the supervising body in charge of the industry is not even listed on the government’s official organizational chart. However, it is a well-known fact that the 2nd Economical Committee, which is not a subordinate body to the cabinet, is the responsible organization. The committee consists of general bureaus numbered from 1 to 10, with the second one being the largest and No. 26 Factory at Jagang province (part of the Kanggye Tractor Factory) at its core. It is at the factory that 40 percent of North Korea’s military industry production occurs, and it is rumored that the missiles manufactured at the factory are exported to the Middle East, bringing in 45 percent of the nation’s foreign currency.
Because of the large earnings, it is natural for the workers at the factory to receive special treatment. Whereas common citizens receive food rations with equal amounts of cereal and rice, workers at the factory are provided with 70 percent of their ration in rice. They also receive cooking oil, vitamins and electronic goods and those assigned to key positions also collect an additional 10 kilograms of beans every month. There’s even a bonus for them.
This information is from “Secret Destruction Weapon Factory,” a book written by a former supply officer at the Kim Il Sung Revolution Historic Memorial and rations control officer at Kanggye’s administrative committee who defected in 1993.
A notable feature is that many of the workplaces at No. 26 Factory are located underground. It is suspected that there are some 8,000 underground military facilities, and 1,800 are located near the Demilitarized Zone. But unlike the old days, being underground has little importance with today’s modern weaponry. It’s because aiming two Bunker Busters, which are being utilized in Operation Iraqi Freedom, at the facility’s entrance and exit leaves them with nowhere to go.
The world’s eyes are focusing on the underground tunnel that North Korea has built in Kilju, North Hamgyong province. If South Korea’s denial that it is a nuclear arms test site is true, then it is certain that the North is planning another one of its dreams underground, a dream that will become desolate with modern weapons.
by Ahn Sung-kyoo
The writer is a deputy political news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.