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Kim Jong Un provides field guidance at factory for first time since crisis

Kim’s visit to a factory that processes corn-based products underscored the importance of the cereal in North Korean agriculture, which was recently hit by severe flooding.

By Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un provides field guidance at factory for first time since crisis
Kim Jong Un provided field guidance to workers at a Pyongyang corn processing plant on Tuesday. The factory produces corn-based noodles seen above, one of several products that are made at the plant. Photo by KCNA/Yonhap

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un expressed "great satisfaction" after a tour of a corn processing plant that marks his first factory visit after a landmark agreement to defuse tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang was reached last week.

North Korea's state-controlled media outlet KCNA reported Kim took a tour of Pyongyang Corn Processing Plant, where he provided field guidance and said that he was deeply satisfied with the on-site facilities, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

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"Pyongyang Corn Processing Plant is a marvelous factory where all production processes are modernized, and production culture, workplace life operate according to the highest standards," Kim said, according to KCNA.

"The more I look around the more pleased I become at the sight of the diverse range of corn-based products that include noodles, cookies and bread that come in improved packaging."

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KCNA said Kim also praised the factory buildings for reflecting the ideals of North Korean building aesthetics.

Kim's visit to the 12,800-square-meter factory in Pyongyang is part of several state-sponsored activities that are under way in preparation of the 70th anniversary of the North Korean Workers' Party on Oct. 10.

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The factory produces 10,000 tons of corn-based food products, according to KCNA. Corn replaced rice as a staple grain in North Korea after the Great Famine of the 1990s, and corn is grown in many parts of the country, including North Pyongan province, where recent floods wiped out corn crops.

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The floods destroyed hundreds of homes in North Korea and killed at least 40 people, and on Tuesday Radio Free Asia reported the damage could be far greater than what North Korea reported in an unprecedented television announcement on Thursday.

The disaster could have a severe impact on North Korea's food supply for fall, the International Federation of the Red Cross told RFA.

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