One-third of the electrical insulators sent to the Pyongyang General Hospital construction project from a single factory in North Hamgyong Province were recently deemed defective, Daily NK has learned.

According to a source in North Hamgyong Province earlier today, the insulators, which were produced at the Gyongsong Insulator Factory, were sent to the construction site in August and early September. The incident comes as North Korea is trying to finish construction of the hospital before Oct. 10, or Party Foundation Day.

The Gyongsong Insulator Factory is famous for the high morale of its employees and the use of computer numerical control (CNC), or the automated control of machining tools by computer. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the factory achieved all of its production quotas for the civilian economy along with the insulators required for Pyongyang General Hospital early this month.

A quality control review of the products found, however, that one-third of the insulators produced at the factory failed to meet quality control standards. Once the results of the quality control review were made known, an uproar ensued at both the factory and the hospital construction site, according to the source.

Electrical insulators at the Gyongsong Insulator Factory in North Hamgyong Province. / Image: Rodong Sinmun

“The quality control reviewers said the biggest issue was that the factory’s molding processes failed to create insulators that met international standards,” the source said. “An inspection team from the Cabinet along with a 12-member technical team was sent to the factory on Sept. 11 to investigate.”

North Korean authorities seemed to view the incident as serious enough to warrant punishment of the factory’s management. The source explained, however, that the authorities were so concerned about finishing the hospital’s construction on time that they left the factory management in place for the time being so that the facility’s insulator production remained undisrupted.

The deadline for the factory to fix or reproduce the defective insulators was last Sunday, and the factory’s management and general workforce worked under a palpable atmosphere of tension to complete the work, the source said.

According to him, some North Koreans believe that completing the hospital by Oct. 10 is impossible given such supply problems, and the fact that the hospital still needs to get through the next hurdle of successfully testing its medical equipment.

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Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to