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Satellite photos reveal North Korea’s massive ‘176,000 square meters’ underground lair with room for 20,000 of Kim Jong-un’s close friends

SATELLITE images have revealed the huge underground lair of 176,000 square meters of North Korea.

The Kanggye General Tractor Plant, which is said to have a capacity of up to 20,000 people, is considered the country’s largest underground weapons factory.

Satellite image of Kanggye General Tractor Factory in Chagang . Province

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Satellite image of Kanggye General Tractor Factory in Chagang . ProvinceCredit: Google Earth
Kim Jong Un during a factory visit in 2019

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Kim Jong Un during a factory visit in 2019Credit: AFP
Kim said at the time he "appreciate the factory for producing highly efficient machinery"

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Kim said at the time that he “appreciated the factory for producing highly efficient machinery and equipment.”Credit: AFP

The site is called Factory No. 26, there are many tunnels leading into the inside of the 1.2m-long hill.

Based on analysis by American researcher Jacob Bogle, the huge plant is estimated to have an area of ​​176,000 square feet and although its exact size is not known, it is estimated to have several floors and tunnels several miles long.

He told Metro.co.uk: “The average person looking at the factory probably wouldn’t doubt how big or important it was.

“Outside, in front of the hill is an underground storage area, there are about 50 hectares of administrative buildings, warehouses and even a small stadium for staff to play football.

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“The factory is a bit unsightly. But then all you have to do is look up the hill and you can see little buildings that go straight into the rock and at least nine tunnels in.

“Actually, it’s a bit difficult to count exactly how many tunnels there are.”

The factory is responsible for the production of ammunition including self-propelled artillery.

The factory located in Chagang province is also said to be responsible for producing parts for short-range ballistic missiles, which are then shipped to other facilities for assembly.

It is thought that during the 90s and early 2000s, centrifuges used to enrich uranium were also manufactured and stored at the plant.

Bogle, based in Tampa, Florida, analyzed satellite images of underground factories around North Korea.

While most of them have a maximum of three access tunnels, Kanggye has at least nine.

Officers are expected to perform a body search upon entry, with guards guarding anything that could cause a fire such as lighters and matches.

During a visit to the site in 2019, Kim Jong Un is said to have “appreciated the factory for producing highly efficient machinery and equipment, beneficial to the national economy and enhancing the ability to national defense,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported at the time.

Bogle continued: “So to continue with the Bond villain analogy, you have this somewhat ordinary looking factory, surrounded by the mountains of the region.

“But then you take a closer look and there’s this hidden network of tunnels, all producing weapons for one of the largest armies in the world, and that’s led by the guy who killed him. my son and uncle.”

The site was established shortly after the Korean War when the small arms factory was split into three and each division was shipped to different parts of the country.

The term “tractor” comes from Soviet nomenclature that usually denotes a military plant.

Back in 1991, a massive explosion, caused by mishandling of explosives, is said to have killed at least 1,000 people.

The explosion destroyed an area of ​​nearly a kilometer, damaged every building on the ground, and blew windows around for miles.

According to locals, cited in a Daily NK report, the official death toll could reach 6,000 people, including pregnant women.

Among the victims were workers trapped underground when authorities reportedly blocked all exits to prevent a larger explosion.

The study found that it took 3-4 years for site clearance and reconstruction, with no new residential buildings facing the factory, although the area is still residential.

“We know that North Korea is one of the worst offenders when it comes to unsafe working conditions, and it has the highest work-related death rate in the world by one measure,” Bogle said. The study was published in 2021 by the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization.

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“In Kanggye, there are recreational facilities such as stadiums and swimming pools, there are medical clinics, and there are other amenities for workers and their families.

“Work at the factory will likely be difficult and there will be no public discussion of injuries or safety incidents, but there is no reason to believe that workers are any less safe than any weapons factory. another of North Korea.”

North Korean leader meets soldiers taking part in a military parade marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army

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North Korean leader meets soldiers taking part in a military parade marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary ArmyCredit: Reuters

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