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    A North Korean iPhone? North Korea Releases Its Own Smartphone With State Approved Apps

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    Asia & Pacific
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    As part of its efforts to modernise and keep development within the confines of the state, North Korea has been developing smartphone technology for years. They have already released three brands of domestically produced smartphones available for purchase: Arirang, Jindallae, and Pyongyang.

    North Korea has revealed its newest achievement in smart phone technology - the Pyongyang 2425.

    The phone has all the features of an ordinary iPhone. It has facial recognition, wireless charging, and an eight-core processor.

    The phone only functions on North Korea’s national wifi called Mirae, a state-owned network where only government approved content is available.

    The phone is also unable to connect to any foreign wifi or internet connection.

    Despite the DPRK’s insistence on its adherence to a philosophy of self-governance, the phone appears to be manufactured in China, according to its serial number.

    Daily NK, a South Korea based and US-funded organisation, claims that it got its hand on one of the phones and discovered that it was manufactured abroad.

    It was likely imported into North Korea as a finalised product and later had North Korea adaptions installed, according to an expert speaking to Daily NK.

    “While changing the software can lead to some problems in functionality, regardless of the type of hardware used, North Korea could have changed the phone's software after importing it.” one expert told Daily NK.

    The government of the DPRK released photos of the device showing it’s weather app, as well as language learning apps for Chinese and English and an encyclopaedia.

    The phone also has a library app which gives citizens access to an array of North Korean literary and ideological works.

    North Korea has been developing smartphone technology for years as part of its modernisation plans.

    According to South Korea's statistics agency, the number of phone users reached 3.8 million in 2017, which is about 15% of the country's population.

    The phone comes at a time when North Korea has hinted that it plans to begin a serious modernisation of the country.

    This announcement follows the official state visit of President Xi Jinping of China to Pyongyang.

    Chairman of the Workers Part of Korea Kim Jong Un has signalled he may open up the centrally planned, socialist economic structure to outside investment, following the Chinese model.

    Kim Jong Un's tenure as the leader of North Korea has already seen a focus on the Rason Special Economic Zones (SEZ), where foreign capital is allowed to operate.

    This new technological advancement also follows a series of foreign visits by officials between North Korea and Vietnam, where Kim met with US President Donald Trump in February.

    That same month, the Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh travelled to Pyongyang.

    The North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had previously visited Hanoi in 2018.

    The trip was reportedly done with the purpose of studying Vietnam’s economic reforms, according to Yonhap News Agency.

    The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, still ruled by the Communist Party of Vietnam, has embarked on a path of allowing economic reforms and allowing foreign and private enterprise to function within the country. 

    Kim Jong-un, IPhone, North Korea
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