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North Korea claims of self-developed tablet dubious, says analyst

A computer tablet featured on North Korean television was likely targeting a North Korean audience for propaganda purposes.

By
Elizabeth Shim
The technology that was featured in North Korea’s propaganda coverage included the next-generation “Myohyang” tablet, and a North Korean salesman was quoted as saying that it is “stylish and simple to use, and watching TV is possible” on the screen. Photo by KCNA/Yonhap
The technology that was featured in North Korea’s propaganda coverage included the next-generation “Myohyang” tablet, and a North Korean salesman was quoted as saying that it is “stylish and simple to use, and watching TV is possible” on the screen. Photo by KCNA/Yonhap

SEOUL, June 2 (UPI) -- North Korea's claims to indigenously developing a computer tablet could possibly be a sham, an analyst said Tuesday.

Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., said North Korean claims of technological prowess lack veracity, according to Radio Free Asia.

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Klingner's remarks come directly after a North Korea-focused news site reported North Korea showcased a new computer tablet at an event called the 18th Pyongyang Spring International trade fair.

According to North Korea's state-controlled KCNA, the fair began on May 11 and drew international visitors to experience the latest in North Korean technology that included what appeared to be laptops, tablets and computers bearing a resemblance to Apple products.

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The technology that was featured in North Korea's propaganda coverage included the next-generation "Myohyang" tablet, and a North Korean salesman was quoted as saying that it is "stylish and simple to use, and watching TV is possible" on the screen.

Klingner said the tablet is not comparable to products made in the United States and other developed nations, and said he is skeptical about the product itself, according to Radio Free Asia.

North Korean television claimed the computer was developed indigenously for export, but it's more likely, said Klingner, the broadcasted feature was targeting a North Korean audience for propaganda purposes, rather than covering technology that could be functional and user-ready.

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Martyn Williams of North Korea Tech blog had told NK News quick spurts of technological progress are not likely in the isolated country, since there are "no Internet services demanding better and faster processors."

On an unofficial level, however, North Koreans are being exposed to outside world trends, according to a new report issued by the U.S. military in South Korea.

In the report released Tuesday, the USFK also said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to select younger men closer to him in age to positions in military leadership.

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In May, Seoul confirmed the purge of North Korean Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol, and said it is highly likely the official was executed.

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