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N. Korea orders munitions factories to beef up security

North Korean authorities recently ordered major munitions factories to beef up security amid a surge in production and theft of raw materials, Daily NK has learned.

In early June, major ammunition factories in North Pyongan and Chagang provinces were ordered to more than double the number of guards patrolling their premises, a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

The guards at the weapons factories are managed by affiliated security departments. Most of the employees of these departments (70-80%) are Ministry of Social Security personnel, while the remainder (20-30%) are civilian guidance officers.

However, the ratio of security officers to civilian guidance officers varies from factory to factory, the source said.

Munitions factories are operating at full capacity

The order to improve security comes as the munitions factories increase production, according to the source.

Earlier this year, North Korean authorities ordered major munitions factories that produce missiles and other weapons to increase production more than fivefold from last year.

At the time, North Korean leaders cited tensions in the region, including U.S.-South Korean military exercises, as the reason for the expansion. However, Daily NK’s source said that the directive was in response to increased arms exports.

“Major military factories producing shells and missiles have been operating at full capacity recently,” the source said, adding that “raw materials and finished products have been piling up as weapons production has increased.

“There is a growing number of raw materials that need to be monitored, and this requires an increase in security personnel,” he added.

As the number of raw materials managed by ammunition factories has increased, there have also been many cases of people stealing the materials and selling them in markets for ill-gotten gains.

Factories look to existing workforce for security personnel

Meanwhile, the directive has prompted major munitions factories to begin the process of selecting new civilian guidance officers.

Some munitions factories are trying to transfer veterans of the special forces among their factory workers to security guards or to recruit new security guards, mainly young men with good physical fitness from the surrounding areas.

If Russia and North Korea conducted further discussions on the arms trade during their recent summit, North Korean munitions factories will likely increase production and expand their workforces accordingly.

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

June 21, 2024 at 09:04AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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