January 18 Factory in Cheonan Parts Claim

[imText1]Sankei Shimbun claimed yesterday to have received news that the propeller section of the North Korean torpedo which was used to attack the Cheonan was produced by the January 18 Factory in Gakam-dong, Kaecheon, South Pyongan Province.

Following the news, The Daily NK spoke with Kim Mi Jung, a former worker in the same factory. She explained, “January 18 Factory produces most of the weaponry parts used in North Korea. It is a large factory with between 30,000 and 40,000 workers.”

Speaking with The Daily NK on July 22nd, Kim went on, “The production of torpedo parts started after Kim Jong Il gave onsite guidance at the factory in 2002.”

“Naturally, they also produce that part mentioned in the newspaper,” she added. “Exterior parts are not produced in this factory, though; their focus is on making internal parts.”

According to Kim, June 19 Factory was split off from January 18 Factory in the mid-1980s. She said that January 18 Factory produces firearms, tank and missile parts, while June 19 Factory concentrates on making airplane parts.

However, Kim added that it is difficult to say whether or not the actual ‘CHT-02D’ torpedo part which was used in the attack on the Cheonan ship was produced in the factory.

Commenting on this, a South Korean intelligence official stated yesterday, “There is the possibility that the torpedo parts were produced by the January 18 Factory, but since munitions factories are scattered all across the nation, it makes it difficult to select a certain factory as the production site of the torpedo which attacked the Cheonan.”

Meanwhile, Sankei reported on the same day that US intelligence has concluded that the propellant parts for the torpedo which was used in the attack on the Cheonan were produced by January 18 Factory. Their conclusion was based on independent information and secret data analysis, according to Sankei.