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No. 26 Factory

  • Location
    Konggwi-dong (공귀동), Kanggye (강계시), Chagang Province (자강도), North Korea
  • Type
  • Facility Status

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The No. 26 Factory in Kanggye has been a major missile production facility that included a missile assembly area called the No. 11 Work Place (11號 職場), which was located outside the underground portion of the plant. However, the missile assembly area was moved following an accident with massive explosions on 30 November 1991. It is not clear if the missile assembly area has been restored, or permanently moved to another location at the site.

North Korean defector Chŏng Kap Ryŏl, former director of the Ŭmhyang Research Institute under the National Academy of Sciences, says he worked at a secret munitions factory in Kanggye for several years. According to Chŏng, North Korea acquired rockets from Russia and then reverse-engineered the rockets at a secret military factory in Kanggye, Chagang Province. However, it is not clear whether Chŏng is referring to the No. 26 factory or another facility.

Given the size of the facility, it is exceedingly difficult to fully understand all of its activities. Certainly, one can suggest that most of the explosives or propellants for No. 26 Factory-produced munitions could be produced elsewhere, although certain components requiring extra detailed work are likely produced on site. For example, shape charges for certain rocket warheads (such as anti-tank missiles) could involve more finishing and milling work with high explosives and then fitting with fuses. Large-scale production of nitric acid and urea—vital components for nitrogen-based high explosives—is conducted elsewhere (such as the Hŭngnam Chemical Fertilizer Factory) and these inputs could be combined in other facilities, such as the underground No. 17 Explosives Factory in the Yonghŭng-nodongjagu (用興勞動者區), Chŏngp’yŏng-kun (定平郡), South Hamgyŏng Province (咸鏡南道). [Note: A South Korean press report in January 2002 quoted a North Korean defector as having said the explosion at the No. 26 Factory in Kanggye occurred in the winter of 1990, which contradicts the date given by Ko Chŏng Song. However, the defector’s inability to give a precise date or even month for such a catastrophic event seems to diminish the credibility of the report.]


[1] Interview with South Korean Ministry of Unification official by Mari Sudo, research associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies (via e-mail), 1 February 2002.
[2] Pu Ji Yŏng, “Puk Nodongja 2 Paeg’yŏmyŏng Ch’ambyŏn/Chiha Missile Kongjang P’okpal/91 Nyŏn 11 Wŏl 30 Il,” Chosun Ilbo, 20 March 1994, p. 6, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[3] Lee T’ae Hyŏng, “Pukhan Kanggye Chiha Missile Kongjang/91 Nyŏn Taep’okpal 2 Paeg’yŏmyŏng Samang/Ilchibodo,” Kukmin Ilbo, 19 March 1995, p. 19, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[4] “Puk Missile Kongjang 91 Nyŏn Taep’okpal/Nodongja 2 Paeg’yŏmyŏng Samang,” Segye Ilbo, 20 March 1994, p. 4, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[5] “’Puk Missile Kongjang 91 Nyŏn Taep’okpal’/Kanggyeshisŏ/Nodongja 2 Paeg’yŏmyŏng Samang,” Taehan Maeil, 20 March 1994, p. 2, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[6] Hwang U Yŏn, “Pukhan 91 Nyŏn Missile Kongjang P’okpal Ch’amsa/Changnyŏn Kwisun Ko Ch’ŏng Song Ssi Palghyŏ,” Kyunghyang Shinmun, 20 March 1994, p. 5, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[7] Lee Kyo Kwan, “Kunsugongjang’en Iltan Tŭr’ŏgamyŏn ‘Malddŭnmu,’” Chosun Ilbo, 26 October 2001, p. 54, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[8] Im Ŭl Ch’ul, T’ong’il Kyŏngje, August 1999, pp. 96-104, in “DPRK Missile Industry, Technology Examined,” FBIS Document ID KPP19990831000634.
[9] Chŏng Ki Hae, “Kyŏngjenan’ŭi Bburi/Min’gan’gyŏngje Kalg’a’mŏngnŭn Kunsu’san’ŏp,” Joongang Ilbo, 30 March 1995, p. 8, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[10] Seoul KBS-1 Radio Network, 19 March 1994, in “Japanese Paper Reports 1991 Explosion at Missile Plant,” FBIS JPRS-TND-94-007, 23 March 1994, pp. 2-3.
[11] Lee Myŏng Chong, “Interview: Kwisunja Chŏng Kap Ryŏl Ssi,” Joongang Ilbo, 8 September 1998, p. 4, www.joins.com.
[12] Han P’ae Sŏk, “Pukhan’ŭi Kunsusan’ŏp Chojikkwa Saengsan Nŭngnyŏk Hyŏnhwang,” (Korean translation from Chinese) Tongbug’ayŏn’gu, Vol. 2, 1998.
[13] Ha T’ae Wŏn, “Pukhan Kunsugiŏp 130 Yŏgae…Hwahangmugi 9 Kossŏ SAengsan,” Donga Ilbo, 5 February 2001, p. 1, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[14] “Pukhan’ŭi Missile Kaebal Kunsa,” Tongil News, 27 February 2001, www.tongilnews.com.
[15] Eya Osamu, Kim Sei Nichi Daizukan (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 2000), p. 149.


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