From a lubricant factory to an orphanage, potato factory or tire production center, Kim Jong Un has conducted many sporadic visits to odd and quirky North Korean sites throughout the years.
At the start of 2018, Kim conducted "field guidance” at several factories, including a “newly-remodeled” Pyongyang Teacher Training College, a pharmaceutical and trackless trolley factories around the regime’s capital. The despot is often photographed with a massive grin and interacting with factory workers.
Several officials also typically stand in the background taking notes -- about something -- during the visit, though the only details released about the trips come through KCNA. Kim usually includes praise for the workers.
At times, he’s joined by his rarely-seen wife, Ri Sol Ju, and his sister, Kim Yo Jong, with the women seen peering at glass cases of beauty products or standing behind the despot with a smile on their faces.
Here are some bizarre photos of Kim during his visits.
2013 to 2016: Kim at a foodstuff factories
Kim was photographed visiting foodstuff factories several times since assuming power in 2011. He inspected biscuits at Foodstuff Factory No. 354 in 2013 while officials took notes behind him. The leader visited Pyongyang Chidren’s Foodstuff Factory in 2014 wearing a large furry hat and lab coat while holding a package of food. Another visit in 2015 had him giggling in front of a glass case of packaged food.
The leader’s visit to Kumkop General Foodstuff Factory for Sportspersons came after the facility went through a complete renovation, KCNA reported. The state-run news agency added Kim was “pleased” that production was occurring on a “highly intensive basis."
August 2014: Kim at a lubricant factory
The leader was all smiles while watching an unknown substance squeeze out of a machine and into a blue canister at the Chonji Lubricant Factory. Kim reportedly praised factory employees for their work and thanked them for producing a product North Korea previously imported. He called for “steadily improving technical specifications” to improve “international competitiveness.”
August 2014: Kim at hosiery factory
Kim gave some “field guidance” at Pyongyang Hosiery Factory and was seen talking to workers as they stood in front of a wall of colorful socks. The North Korean despot made the visit because he was reportedly deeply “concerned” about “consumer goods for people’s life,” Yonhap News Agency reported.
"The production capacity of the factory is very big, he noted, calling for operating all production processes in full capacity so as to meet the demands of people for hosiery," KCNA said in its statement.
2014 to 2015: Kim at Pyongyang Baby Home and Orphanage
Kim's first visit to the orphanage was in 2014, when the facility was under construction. Kim returned the next year to a new building filled with bright-colored furniture. He is seen laughing as he played with children and toys. Another photo showed a hoard of toddlers coming toward Kim.
September 2017: Kim at a farm
Kim gave more “field guidance” during a visit to Farm No. 1116, strolling through a field of unknown plants and then picking up a vegetable and inspecting the quality of it. He was also pictured marveling at apples in an orchard.
October 2017: Kim at a footwear factory
Kim and his wife visited Ryuwon Footwear Factory in early October. This was the first time his wife was spotted in public in months. He watched a worker at a sewing machine and looked at children’s shoes. The photos were released with a scathing threat that called President Trump a “rabid man in the White House.”
October 2017: Kim at a cosmetics factory
Kim visited the remodeled Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory and was “very pleased” with the products, which were aimed to make North Korean women “more beautiful.”
“He said he felt good as the factory has been remodeled to be proud of in the world so that it would be flawless in the distant future, too,” KCNA said in a statement Sunday.
Kim also discussed “important tasks” for the next phase of modernizing the factory. Details of the plans were not released.
November 2017: Kumsong Tractor Factory
Kim had some fun at a tractor factory in November while, once again, giving field guidance, KCNA said. The despot was even pictured in the driver’s seat of a tractor with his hands on the wheel. A group of people were seen taking notes as Kim talked to them.
December 2017: Kim at a tire and potato flour factories
Just three days after launching the Hwasong-15 ICBM, Kim visited a factory and thanked workers for making the tires for the vehicle that transported the missile. The workers built large-size tires for the 9-axle missile truck. Kim also called for efforts to raise production to "satisfy the daily-increasing needs in developing the country's economy and beefing up national defense capabilities," KCNA stated.
Kim in September tasked the Amnokgang Tire Factory with making the tires for the "great event in November," the agency reported.
The next week, the dictator was photographed in front of a mountain of potatoes during an “inspection” of a potato flour factory. Snow was also seen on the roofs of the building while Kim, wearing his black peacoat and hat, was surrounded by his officials.
December 2017: Kim at the "sublime mountain of revolution"
Kim strolled Mouth Paektu, an inactive volcano and North Korea’s highest peak the regime dubbed the “sublime mountain of revolution,” with several officials to celebrate the rogue nation's Nov. 29 missile launch.
“Imposingly standing on Janggun Peak, the respected Supreme Leader gave a familiar look for a while at the dizzy cliffs and the sea of trees, recalling the emotion-charged days when he realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force without yielding even a moment and with the indomitable faith and will of Paektu,” KCNA said in a statement.
The state-run media boasted about the “nice weather” seen during the visit. Kim also spoke about building a new hotel and better facilities around Paektu station for tourism.
Kim visited a newly-remodeled Pyongyang Teacher Training College on Jan. 17 and checked the classrooms for their desks and technology. In one photo, Kim is seen looking at a projection of cartoon students sitting in desks — possibly a demonstration on how the classroom would appear with children.
On Jan. 25 Kim and his wife Ri also did a “field guidance” at Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Factory. Officials took notes during the visit, though it’s unclear what information he provided.
Just before the month ended, Kim also visited factory workers at the “newly remodeled” trolley bus factory.
“Looking at the factory with a bright smile on his face, he said that all buildings are neat and fine,” KCNA said in a statement. "[Kim] stressed that officials and workers of the factory should bear in mind the honor and pride of working at the glorious worksite associated with patriotic sweats of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and their love for people and make constant innovations."
And to celebrate Kim’s New Year’s Day address, KCNA also released a stamp of the despot from the speech.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.