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North Korea mentions new ministry of information industry in media report

North Korea may have reorganized a government bureau in charge of information technology after Kim Jong Un called for a focus on science and technology. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE
North Korea may have reorganized a government bureau in charge of information technology after Kim Jong Un called for a focus on science and technology. File Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA-EFE

May 18 (UPI) -- North Korea may have created a new ministry of information industry as part of Kim Jong Un's plan to modernize the economy.

Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun mentioned Monday for the first time the name of the ministry in an article about state support for farms amid North Korea's seeding season.

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The ministry could be in charge of overseeing developments in the information technology sector, including Kim's policies relevant to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and artificial intelligence, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

The ministry most likely was created after the meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly on Jan. 17. The meeting included new ministerial appointments. The information industry minister or ministry were not mentioned in North Korean media that month, the report said.

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Some North Korean watchers in the South say the ministry might not be entirely new. The ministry could be a reorganized entity that has replaced the electronics industry bureau, according to Yonhap.

The electronics industry bureau was first mentioned in March 2020 and most likely replaced North Korea's ministry of electronics first established in 1999.

The ministry of electronics was referred to in a Rodong report in November 2019 during a technology exhibition. Its Morning-Panda Joint Venture Co. was named one of several "model enterprises," according to South Korean news service NK Economy.

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Morning-Panda is a joint venture with a Chinese entity, according to the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Kim previously called for a national focus on scientific and technological development during the Eighth Party Congress in January.

In February, a month after the Congress, Kim ordered the Party to meticulously implement a five-year economic plan.

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The North Korean leader said at the time politicians should do more, while criticizing their "passive and self-protecting tendencies," according to KCNA.

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