Category: Politics

N. Korean media highlight high-tech achievemen…

North Korea’s media outlets are repeatedly playing up the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) apparently as part of an effort to attain economic development.

DPRK Today, a propaganda website run by the Pyongyang regime, said in an article Wednesday that a laboratory affiliated with the North’s most prestigious university has developed a number of advanced artificial intelligence programs and systems.

The article said that the IT Institute of the Latest Science Institute of Kim Il Sung University has been chosen as one of the North’s 10 best ICT enterprises of 2018.

A Korean language voice recognition program and a Korean language document recognition program, both developed by the Kim Il Sung University institute, have been certified as the best artificial intelligence technology products, it noted.

The institute has also developed an integrated search system based on the North’s internal network within six months, making it possible to quickly and accurately search for information stored on hundreds of websites, the article said.

The Pyongyang-based institute is now in the process of developing a simultaneous interpretation program, a free conversation software combining voice and character recognition technologies, and a program capable of recognizing any handwriting, it said.

According to a recent report of the Rodong Sinmun, the 29th National Exhibition of IT Achievements that opened at the Sci-Tech Complex in the North’s capital on Nov. 7 featured a voice-controlled smart home system and other advanced information technology devices developed by the Kim Il Sung University institute.

The mouthpiece of the North’s ruling party argued that an intelligent speaker is capable of recognizing human voice to automatically control household devices, including fans, air conditioners, televisions and lights.

Watchers say that North Korea appears to be actively coping with the latest global trends in the IT sector under North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s campaign for economic development.

“Well aware that the introduction of high value-added industries would speed up economic development, the North appears to have embarked on its own fourth industrial revolution. It seeks to maximize productivity by elevating the level of automation through the integration of ICT,” said Lim Eul-chul, a professor at Kyungnam University.

“What is important is the commercialization of indigenously developed technologies. With only the domestic market available, the North appears to be preparing for a market opening and reform after denuclearization and sanctions relief.”

– Yonhap News Agency

A defacement page created by WhoIs Team, a h…

A defacement page created by WhoIs Team, a hacking group based in North Korea. In March 2013, the cyber team hacked into LG U+, a large South Korean internet portal, and uploaded the above image during cyber-warfare attacks on the South titled “10 Days of Rain”.

The re-construction of Samjiyon is being pushe…

The re-construction of Samjiyon is being pushed forward at a rapid pace. Since Kim Jong Un first visited the town in early July, over 100 buildings have gone up. In all, over 400 new structures will be constructed including factories, museums, recreational buildings, housing, and hotels.

Kim Jong Un raised arms with Moon Jae-In at th…

Kim Jong Un raised arms with Moon Jae-In at the peak of Mount Paektu. The mountain is considered sacred by Koreans and is considered the birthplace of Korea in the country’s mythology.

A dancing party in the Central Youth Hall was …

A dancing party in the Central Youth Hall was put on in Pyongyang to mark Youth Day. Similar parties were held in provincial capitals throughout North Korea as well as art performances and sports competitions.

Chinese-North Korean joint ventures in constru…

With the recent restoration of DPRK-China relations, North Korea’s Rason special economic zone (SEZ) is being transformed into a city of modern skyscrapers, according to an April 13 report by Radio Free Asia.

China-North Korea bilateral joint ventures had been stalled for a while due to the sanctions being imposed by China and the international community. Slowly, however, there are signs that these joint ventures are being revitalized, at least in the Rason Economic and Trade Zone.

In Rason, there is a high demand for apartment buildings. North Korean trading companies are providing the sites, with the Chinese investors supplying the funds for such construction.

“The latest models of high-rise apartment have recently started to change the skyline in Rason. The joint ventures had slowed down last year as the China-North Korean relations became strained. However, the joint venture constructions were resumed recently and many buildings are now about to be completed,” an informed source from North Hamkyong province told Radio Free Asia.

High-rise apartments started to appear in Rason last year, but their construction slowed down when the Chinese government stepped up its enforcement of sanctions against North Korea. Consequently, most ongoing constructions had come to a halt, and the industry had paused to catch its breath.

At present, most of those apartments in the Rason special economic zone that are already completed or about to be completed are over twenty-stories high. North Korean trading companies often provide the construction sites and workers, while their Chinese partners are responsible for supplying construction materials and design of the buildings. The profits raised from the sales are shared between the two.

Because many high-ranking government and party officials and the new rich North Koreans known as “donju” are buying up these expensive apartments in Rason, the supply can hardly catch up with the demand. Depending on its location, direction, and the floor it is on, an apartment unit is sold at a price ranging from $30,000 to $50,000. Nevertheless, they are in short supply.

Although for the average North Koreans, these buildings are so expensive that they can hardly dream of owning one, they are often sold out even before their completion. Consequently, the trading companies are allegedly pocketing huge sums of foreign currency.

– The Institute for Far Eastern Studies

Kim Jong Un took his first selfie with Singapo…

Kim Jong Un took his first selfie with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan as he toured Singapore’s tourist attractions the night before his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Lets firmly gather under the common banner of…

“Lets firmly gather under the common banner of the Korean race and build a unified powerhouse that will prosper!”

Recently, North Korean media has been emphasizing cooperation with the South and has repeatedly called on it to faithfully implement the latest Panmunjom Declaration which is also known as the April 27 Declaration in the North.

The Koam-Tapchon Marine Railway Bridge was rec…

The Koam-Tapchon Marine Railway Bridge was recently completed in Kangwon Province. A large-scale fishing zone is currently being constructed in this area and the completion of the railway bridge will allow its construction to rapidly progress.

A statue depicting Kim Il Sung giving his addr…

A statue depicting Kim Il Sung giving his address marking the end of the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula in the Pyongyang Metro. Pyongyang’s subway system is being quietly expanded west of the Hyoksin Line with at least three new stations already completed past Kwangbok station.