Rason Special Economic Zone Textile Factory

Closed during the height of the spring 2013 tensions, the Kaesong Industrial Complex will probably never be a tourist attraction, even if reopened.  But if light industry is your thing, it is still possible to gain access and check out the behind the scenes action at various factories in the Rason Special Economic Zone.

Despite sanctions, one of the busiest factories I visited in Rason was the textile and garment plant.  During our visit my group was led to the 2nd floor production halls where we watched Chinese supervisors make rounds to oversee the quality of work of the local North Korean staff.

There were no children working at the plant, the work space was clean and well ventilated, and in the parking lot we witnessed the distribution of the worker’s monthly rations.  But for those who must have controversy and scandal when it comes to North Korean issues, I can report that the tags on the jackets being produced there claimed “Made in China”.

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Rason Garment Factory North Korea

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Rason Garment Factory North Korea

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Rason Garment Factory North Korea

Rason Garment Factory North Korea

Rason Garment Factory North Korea

Rason Garment Factory North Korea

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Rason Garment Factory North Korea

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III

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8 responses

  1. Some of their cheeks look really pink. Is that from cold or makeup or something else?

    June 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    • I’m assuming that is from makeup as that day wasn’t that cold and makeup is definitely now becoming more common in North Korea.

      June 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm

  2. Mom

    very neat and clean environment, colorful uniforms, but no happiness in their faces. Do you think they make minimum wages?

    June 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    • In the Kaesong Industrial Complex monthly wage is reported to be anywhere between $60 to $160 a month, so no, not minimum wage as we know it – but its a different society, monthly food rations and free housing.

      Happiness in their faces – I think they are just nervous having a big American with a big camera taking portraits, not their everyday experience.

      June 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm

  3. Very interesting tour. I wouldn’t mind going on a similar one… I work in the textile business in China, and have talked many times with a friend/factory owner about how the DPRK is going to open up and yada, yada, yada… Very cool post.

    July 6, 2013 at 8:27 am

  4. Impressing pictures. I would like to know whether the ladies were comfortable with the shots? Some of them look a bit…shy? Embarrassed?

    July 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

    • I’m guessing that some of them were embarrassed, but we were given permission to take pics so I took full advantage of the opportunity.

      July 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      • Hmm, sure, who wouldn’t? Greetings from Shanghai.

        July 20, 2013 at 2:27 am

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