By Katherine Lam
Published October 16, 2019
Through the years, Kim has visited several companies, including a “newly-remodeled” Pyongyang Teacher Training College and trackless trolley factory, around the regime’s capital to provide "field guidance," according to North Korean propaganda. The despot is often photographed with a massive grin and interacting with factory workers as several officials stand in the background taking notes -- about something -- during the visit. The only details released about the trips come through the official state news agency, 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 often seen peering at glass cases of beauty products or standing -- smiling -- behind the despot.
Here are some of the more bizarre photos of Kim during his visits.
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."
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kim and his wife were seen inspecting a fish-pickling factory in Kumsunpo in North Korea’s South Hwanghae Province. Photos released by KCNA showed the despot wearing a white T-shirt and hat — an unusually light and casual outfit, compared to the Mao-style suits he usually wears.
Kim told factory workers they “did a lot of work” when he heard the facility made 30 pickled fish products, including shrimp, eel, anchovy and shellfish.
On Aug. 13, KCNA announced Kim visited one of the regime’s livestock farms, and he was seen walking through the cow pens with his group of officials towing behind him.
“[Kim] underscored the need to scrupulously organize scientific and technological work for preventing degeneration of fine breeds and keeping the characteristics of pure breeds and change the cow breeds of low weight increment, poor taste and milk into good breeds,” KCNA said in a statement.
On the same day, the North Korean leader also visited a fish farm used to breed fish for the man-made lake in Kaechon City. Kim stressed to officials the importance of “massively [raising] mandarin fishes and other young fishes” for the lake to become functional.
Kim provided "field guidance" at a recently remodeled department store, Taesong Department Store, in Pyongyang ahead of its grand opening, KCNA reported. The despot was pictured looking at shoes while his officials stood behind him taking notes.
“Now that the modern department store has been completed, it has become possible to provide citizens of the capital with different varieties of more quality foodstuffs, clothing, footwear, household articles, sundry goods for daily use, school things and goods for cultural use,” Kim was quoted saying during the visit.
The North Korean leader donned a Mao-style suit for the visit.
Kim opted for a more active photoshoot this time round, channeling his inner Vladimir Putin with images of him riding horseback on a sacred mountain.
The undated images, released by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shoed Kim dressed in a long winter coat riding a white horse on snow-covered Mount Paektu, the highest point on the Korean peninsula.
The government-run agency also said that during a visit later that day in Samjiyon County, Kim lamented over the U.S.-led U.N. sanctions that were imposed after nuclear talks broke down.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.