An explosion at Chongjin Chemical and Textile Factory in North Hamgyong Province reportedly left several workers injured.

The factory was conducting chemical experiments in accordance with the party’s “self-reliance” policy at the time of the explosion.

A source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Friday that the factory’s Industrial Technology Center was recently conducting experiments to reduce the plant’s dependence on raw materials and chemical reagents when the test kiln exploded. Two people received serious injuries, while five received minor injuries.

Chongjin Chemical and Textile Factory was ordered to submit a technological innovation plan by the end of this year — the first of North Korea’s new five-year plan for economic development — to break its dependence on imported raw materials and chemical reagents, or so-called “import disease.” It reportedly began pertinent experiments on Oct. 19.

The kiln unexpectedly exploded while the factory’s technology department, research team and on-site production technicians were gathered to watch the experiment. Some of the onlooking workers next to the kiln were injured, some severely, said the source.

chongjin security
A view of Chongjin. / Image: Daily NK

The explosion was reportedly so powerful that local residents near the factory could hear it loud and clear.

The source said workers liberally poured condemnation on the accident. For the last month, the factory’s party committee has been berating workers to produce a technological innovation plan. Considering the plan a party task, workers were rushing to achieve results when the accident happened. Haste had led to misfortune, they said.

Prior to this, the factory’s technology personnel reportedly convinced party committee officials to conduct the experiment only after observing the process in more detail, explaining that it was still dangerous despite being lab-tested.

In particular, the technicians reportedly believed the party’s self-sufficiency and localization policies were a mistake. In times such as these, when people are demanding high-quality clothing from South Korea and elsewhere, who would buy clothes made from locally made, poor-quality textiles?

The source said the factory’s technicians and workers have been blaming party officials “who aren’t satisfied until people get hurt trying to do silly things because the party ordered it.” They lament that the party seems “ignorant of this reality.”

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to