The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on 12 August Kim Jong-il inspected Kim Jong Suk Naval University located in Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province. The report did not mention when the visit was actually made, but the South Korean media outlet, Yonhap News Agency, believes the visit was made around Tuesday (11 August) given the timing of the report. This public appearance marks Kim Jong-il's first since meeting with the former President Clinton on 04 August.
Ordinarily, Kim's on-site inspections would be of interest because we can glean a sense of Kim's physical condition, what sector of North Korea Kim is concentrating on, the overall message Kim is trying to convey domestically and internationally, etc. In other words, Kim's on-site inspection news are good for building databases and for doing mid- to long-term analytic projects, but they rarely provide any excitement. This on-site inspection, however, caught our eyes for something refreshingly different. Actually, what caught our eyes had nothing to do with Kim at all. It actually had to do with a small detail we noticed in two of the North Korean released photos of the on-site inspection.
As we looked through the photos, we noticed some computer monitors in the foreground of the two of the photos. We were in awe when we noticed the word "DELL" on one of the computer monitors. Yes, "DELL"!!! Our office uses Dell monitors as well, so, just to make sure, we took a look at the back of our monitors. We found the markings on the back of our monitors to be remarkably similar to those in the photo.
Below are the two photos in question released by North Korea, and a photo of the monitor in our office for comparison.
We couldn't tell if the photos were doctored, but assuming they were not, it is very, very, VERY, improbable that Dell, Inc. is doing any business with North Korea, especially the North Korean Navy. If anything, the North Koreans most probably procured these monitors by way of China.
Regardless, it was fascinating to see an emblem of the American capitalism (or as the North Koreans would say in their rhetoric...bellicose American imperialistic economic policy systemically designed to choke out the revolutionary flame of the Korean people) displayed so prominently in a North Korean military institution.
Very Ironic, indeed.