The following happened in August 2002 during Kim Jong Il’s visit to the Russian Far East.
“Weren’t They Out of Job?”
On the 21st Kim Jong Il visited the Gagarin Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Complex.
Given its important role in developing latest aviation technology and munitions industry of the country, the modern aircraft giant had been kept off limits to ordinary citizens and foreigners.
Seeing the range of products displayed in chronological order, Kim Jong Il gave the officials in his company a brief explanation of the planes that distinguished themselves in the Second World War and others that were similar to those driven by the Korean pilots during the Fatherland Liberation War.
Then he asked an official of the complex in detail about the performance and specifications of the latest models, and praised it for its substantial contributions to strengthening the country’s defence capability and updating its flight service.
The general director of the complex guided the guest to the shop floor, which had been kept out of bounds to outsiders.
At the chamber for designing, the first process of manufacturing, Kim Jong Il watched some designers working with computers. The general director said that there had been hundreds of designers in this chamber but the advent of computer led to a radical drop in the number.
Kim Jong Il asked, smiling genially:
Then what about those numerous designers who were made redundant? Weren’t they out of job?
The Russians grinned broadly.
The general director answered, “They learned skills in other fields and found job in places of their own choice. Thank you, respected Comrade Kim Jong Il, for caring about our designers.”