North Korean authorities have recently installed automated entry systems at the entrance of the Ministry of Defense (formerly the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces), as well as at the entrances of command headquarters and military-related universities in Pyongyang, a source told Daily NK. The move, part of efforts to modernize the North Korean military, was reportedly aimed at strengthening security. 

According to a Daily NK source in the North Korean military last Thursday, the authorities replaced existing entryways with so-called “remote-controlled automated folding doors” between Jan. 15 and 25 in accordance with an order from the State Affairs Commission following the Eighth Party Congress.

The project targeted the Ministry of Defense, General Political Bureau, Military Security Command, General Staff Department and other top military commands, as well as the commands of military units in Pyongyang and military, political, defense and security-related universities.

The authorities said they carried out the project to “modernize and strengthen the People’s Army.” They also stressed that the military, as the “principal agent of national defense,” must be able to carry out its mission and role “during any threat or unexpected situation.”

It appears North Korea, which pledged to steadily bolster its armed forces in the preface of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea’s revised bylaws, carried out the modernization of important military locations as a follow-up measure.

The authorities reportedly added an article to the bylaws on strictly keeping military secrets after the automated entrances were installed, too.

Soldiers marching during the Party Foundation Day military parade on Oct. 10, 2020. / Image: KCNA

This suggests the move is connected with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s official announcement during the Eighth Party Congress that the nation is developing nuclear submarines, hypersonic missiles and other weapon systems, as well as expanding and constructing “testing centers” to pursue those systems. This would suggest that North Korea is further tightening security as it develops tactical nuclear weapons and other systems.

North Korea reportedly developed the new automated entrances, which can be remotely controlled and are equipped with encrypted recognition software, with the help of the Chilsung Joint Trading Company.

That is to say, the entrances can “preemptively” block vehicles with fake or unregistered license plates from a distance of 20 meters. The source said the entrances also have sirens and other security features. 

People are saying the new entrances better control who gets in and out of the facilities, befitting the garrisons they protect, according to the source. 

Meanwhile, follow-up measures are in progress. The general administration agency of the operations bureau of the General Staff Department is currently registering all automobiles and transport vehicles at every unit across the country by the Lunar New Year (Feb. 12).

The source said military authorities have also crafted plans to install the entrances at the offices of every corps and command in the military.

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