North Korea’s South Hamgyong Province has declared it has created a new “active accelerating agent” that causes cement to coagulate faster, and is widely promoting the development as opening the way for provincial, city, and county construction projects in the new year.

A source in South Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Tuesday that the province is boasting that they conducted research on the concrete active accelerating agents they had been using, ultimately producing a new agent that causes cement to coagulate five to eight times faster than before. He said since the New Year, the province has been asking cities and counties to accelerate construction, even in winter, and to build in “more cultured and modern” ways.

South Hamgyong Province has reportedly been pushing the production of a better developed accelerating agent since last August, crafting an organizational plan with the Hamhung branch of the State Academy of Sciences. The chief secretary of the provincial party has been taking direct charge of the project.

In fact, the provincial party committee and people’s committee have been distributing large quantities of the new agent to housing, service facility, and street construction projects in Hamhung, Chongpyong County, Hamju County, Sinpo, and elsewhere in the province since February, calling for accelerated construction efforts so that there are no slow downs even in winter.

In a report to the Central Committee on Jan. 3, the provincial party reportedly boasted that they opened the new year with a project that could boost efficiency at construction sites, calling it “the first step of this year’s march.”

A photo of recently-built houses in the Komdok area of the province. / Image: Rodong Sinmun-News 1

The provincial party also apparently called in all provincial construction officials for a meeting on Jan. 10 to explain how the new accelerating agent works and its advantages. The province is also promoting how officials can immediately begin construction even in winter thanks to production of the new agent, calling it one of the province’s “major practical achievements.”

The source said the province claimed construction crews could mix the new agent as a powder, and that it is quite effective even if applied as a powder after plastering. He said the province emphasized the superiority of the new agent: namely, how its coagulating capacity is five to eight times greater than before; that the province has secured the means to produce the agent locally from provincial raw materials; and that the agent is cheap, simple to produce, and creates little environmental pollution.

The source further reported that the provincial party called on officials to abandon their “defeatist idea of the past” that construction is impossible in the cold, snowy winter and to focus on boosting the quality and speed of construction. Party officials reportedly went on to say that thanks to the new agent, it was now possible to ensure the fulfillment of more of the current five year plan’s construction goals faster, better, and in a more stable fashion than ever before.

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