On October 22, 1984 Kim Jong Il visited the then Ragwon Machine Factory.
The first thing which caught his eyes as he entered the large machine shop was a board bearing the slogan “Self-reliance.”
He studied the slogan with a meaningful look and moved to a table where the parts of the rotary rock-drill were placed.
He said that they were just what he had wanted to see, and inquired in detail about their production and performance.
Then he asked an official, “What caused skepticism about the quality of Ragwon-brand rock-drill?”
The official answered that some of their parts were defective and they were upgraded in the main.
The General said, “Good. I know the workers of Ragwon have already laid the groundwork for the production of rock-drills, too.”
He continued: The first home-made tractor moved backward but now the whole countryside is teeming with our tractors. The workers of Ragwon blazed a trail for the rock-drill industry of the country. Their products may have a defect, but it is like dust on a gem. Polish it, and it glitters.
This remark reminded the officials of what had happened in May that year.
At that time he was inspecting a mine in Musan. The officials of the mine said that they could not increase the output of iron ore because Ragwon-brand rock-drills were inefficient. They insisted that high-performance machines should be brought in from a foreign country.
Kim Jong Il said that rotary rock-drills and other equipment should be made domestically because importing them from abroad would be tantamount to pouring water into a bottomless jar. He assured that the Ragwon Machine Factory would provide the mine with rotary rock-drills on a regular basis.
Then he stressed that he would give the task of making high-performance rock-drills to the workers of Ragwon and they would successfully manufacture them.
Soon afterwards, the Ragwon Machine Factory eliminated the defects in the machines and improved their efficiency. But the officials at Musan, who had been coveting foreign-made equipment, felt skeptical about the home-made drills.
Kim Jong Il decided that, in order to demonstrate the performance of the domestic products, a competition should be held at the mine in Musan to compare the home-made rotary rock-drill to a foreign-made one.
Thus began the unusual competition. At the beginning, there was no big difference in performance, but as the days went by, the difference grew bigger and bigger until the result became clear near the end of the competition. The drill that took the first place in the several days’ competition was the machine made at Ragwon.
Kim Jong Il gazed at the parts of the drills as if recalling the competition, and said with a bright smile, “I have heard that the recent competition proved that the allegation that Ragwon-made rock-drills were less efficient was completely baseless. Is it true?”
An official said that the Ragwon-made machine had won and its efficiency was increased four to five times.
Then the General said in a loud voice:
Now you see that in a “wrestling match” between a team relying on itself and a team depending on others, the former, the “self-reliant” team, won. The winner is the “self-reliant” team!
After another big laugh, he resumed that the competition would probably have taught the officials at Musan a serious lesson.
We must believe in the workers of Ragwon. We must believe in them and their rock-drills.
He stressed that in the difficult period after the war the Party had believed in the workers of Ragwon and he could see no reason why it should not believe in them now. Then he instructed to the officials in his company that they must cancel the plan of purchasing foreign-made rock-drills.
Patting the factory official on the shoulder, he said: You must carry forward the tradition of self-reliance.