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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 14, 1958

NOTE FROM A CEREMONY TO UNVEIL THE FIRST BLAST FURNACE BUILT IN THE TERRITORY OF THE DPRK BY THE KOREANS THEMSELVES, WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF SPECIALISTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES

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    The DPRK constructs a blast furnace without assistance from other countries.
    "Note from a Ceremony to Unveil the First Blast Furnace Built in the Territory of the DPRK by the Koreans Themselves, without the Assistance of Specialists from Other Countries," May 14, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polish Foreign Ministry Archive. Obtained for NKIDP by Jakub Poprocki and translated for NKIDP by Maya Latynski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114973
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14 May 1958 [trans. note:  added as a tilted stamp]

K/2421/13 [added by hand]

N O T E

from a ceremony to unveil the first blast furnace built in the territory of the DPRK by the Koreans themselves, without the assistance of specialists from other countries.

This year, there was no central First of May assembly in Pyongyang.  This assembly was replaced by a ceremony starting up the DPRK’s second furnace to be reconstructed (actually, built from scratch) on the grounds of the Seongjin steelworks, located at a distance of about 40 km. to the southwest of Pyongyang.  The entire leadership of the party and the government took part in the ceremony, and also invited were the chiefs of diplomatic posts.

Such a solemn opening of this particular complex was not an accident.  One can say that the fact of starting up this furnace is, in a vital way, of watershed importance for the further development of this country’s economy.  This importance (regardless of the direct economic importance, about which I will say a few words further on) lies in the fact that this blast furnace was constructed as the first large enterprise by the Koreans themselves, by their engineers, technicians and workers, without the assistance of specialists from other countries.  In addition to the furnace, also built was a coking plant, also with Korean forces, and the construction of a chemical plant related to the coking plant was also launched.

2 instants can describe the direct significance of the above-mentioned blast furnace:

  1. So far (1957), the DPRK has produced 270 thou. tons of  pig iron.  Currently, production is increasing to over 400 thou. tons.  If one calculates this per inhabitant (accepting approximately that the DPRK’s population is 10 million), the production of pig iron so far was 27 kg.  Currently, it will grow to over 40 (70 kg. per inhabitant are being foreseen for 1961).  By comparison, the production per citizen in other countries amounted to (in 1956):  France, 267 kg., USSR 179 kg., Poland 126 kg.; Hungary, 90 kg; Yugoslavia, 33 kg; Romania, 33 kg; Bulgaria 13 kg.; PRC, 7.6 kg; Japan 70 kg; India 5 kg; South Korea 0.9 kg.
  2. Until now, only one blast furnace existed in the DPRK, in the Kim Chaek works in Seongjin, which had been started up with the help of Soviet specialists.  In case of a need to stop this furnace, complications may have arisen in the work of the remaining metallurgical plants.  Now, a major reserve exists.

One can stress, of the technical details, that the Japanese built 3 blast furnaces here, with a volume of 50m3 each.  They were completely destroyed during the war.  One furnace being built currently has a volume of 150m.  The steel is poured out of the bucket onto a large conveyor belt, on which it cools down in the form of small blocks and, off which, after the cooling down with a water spray (during the progression of the conveyor), it drops directly into wagons.  In a short time it will be transported in buckets in a liquid state directly to the strip mill.

6 cop[ies] made Jerzy Siedlecki

5 cop[ies] Dep[artment] V [signature]

1 cop[y] a/a Ambassador of the PRP in the DPRK