May 14, 2013 12:31
TV Chosun was given clandestine video footage on Monday showing the inside of a heavily-guarded arms factory in North Korea.
The factory in the city of Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province near the border with China, barely stands out among the other structures in its rural surroundings.
But the entrance to the factory bears a large red star, showing it is related to the military.
The rare footage was obtained by evangelical group Caleb Mission, which supports North Korean defectors. "The factory was built to look like an ordinary structure on satellite photos," said Kim Sung-eun, a pastor who heads the mission. "The production lines are underground."
In the video, workers can be seen at the assembly lines operating machine tools, apparently milling parts for hovercrafts. "North Korea produces its own parts due to a shortage of dollars," whereas South Korea imports them, Kim said.
He said the footage was taken by North Koreans who smuggled it across the border and tried to make money selling it to Chinese or South Koreans.
Although the regime has bolstered internal security to clamp down on potential unrest, a drawn-out economic slump has led to discontent among workers in the North's arms industry and other formerly privileged groups, prompting a growing number of them to try and make money by other means.
Caleb Mission, established in 2006 to spread born-again Christianity in the North, has rescued some 100 North Korean defectors in China so far. It also helps defectors settle in South Korea.
The group has provided several videos showing life in North Korea, including images of an open-air market in Onsong, North Hamgyong Province in November 2009, just before and after the North's botched currency reform.
The arms factory was supposedly filmed in April. TV Chosun will air the footage during a special program on Wednesday and Thursday.
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