Tanch'ŏn Honorable Soldiers Semiconductor Factory

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Last Updated: April 1, 2003
Other Name: 탄천명예군인반도체공장
Location: Tanch'ŏn (탄천시), South Hamgyŏng Province (햠경남도), North Korea
Subordinate To: Electrical Engineering Research Institute (전자공학연구소), Academy of Sciences (과학원); or possibly the Ministry of Electronics Industry (전자공업성)
Facility Status:

North Korea had begun construction of Tanch'ŏn Semiconductor Factory by at least 1989, after the successful trials in semiconductor production at the Pyongyang Semiconductor Factory that started in April 1987. It is unclear when this facility opened, but the plant had been completed by January 1992 at the latest. Analysts have speculated that semiconductors and other components produced at the Pyongyang Semiconductor Factory have been used in the production of missiles, so this assumption could also be extended to the Tanch'ŏn Semiconductor Factory. However, North Korea is not self-sufficient in semiconductor production, and Pyongyang's technological capabilities in this area are relatively backward. According to North Korean defector Kim Myŏng Ch'ŏl, North Korea was procuring integrated circuits from the former Soviet Union, Russia, and Japan to be used in rockets, tanks, and submarines while he worked at Man'gyŏngdae Jewel Processing Factory from 1986 to 1993. [Note: The pro-North Korean General Federation of Korean Residents in Japan (Choch'ongnyŏn) has provided assistance for other computer and information technology facilities, and could have provided assistance for this facility as well.]

[1] Interview with North Korean defector Kim Myŏng Ch'ŏl by Daniel A. Pinkston, senior research associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, 14 December 2001, Seoul.
[2] Cho Min Ho, "Puk Computer San'ŏp Pakch'a/Choch'ongnyŏn UNDP Sŏ Chiwŏn," Segye Ilbo, 2 February 1994, p. 8, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[3] "Computer (Pukhansangshik:45)," Chosun Ilbo, 17 February 1995, p. 27, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[4] Sŏng Ki Ch'ŏl, "Computer Kaebal Pakch'a/Oegukkisul-Chabon I'ryejŏk 'Hwan'yŏng' (Pukhan'ŭn Chi'gŭm)," Kukmin Ilbo, Wang Sang Han, "Pukhan Computer/'San'ŏp Che 1 Kwaje' Pul'gu ;8 Bit Kŭp'," Chosun Ilbo, 7 September 1991, p. 7, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[5] Chŏng Yŏng T'ae, "Puk IT San'ŏp Ŏdikkaji Wanna/SW Sujun'gŭp, HW Nŭn 'Ch'obo'," Donga Ilbo, 14 June 2000, p. 34, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.

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