Kim Jong-un’s New Year Speech: What It Really Means

North Korea's former poet laureate takes a look at the new leader's shifting tone of voice.
January 2nd, 2013
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Kim Jong Un’s new year speech has broken a silence held for 19 years, for during this time, there was no new year speech in North Korea. Under Kim Il-sung, the new year’s speech was that occasion in the year when the leader provided guidance to his people. As all power is concentrated under the

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About the Author

Jang Jin-sung

Jang Jin-sung is North Korea’s former poet laureate under Kim Jong Il, and is now Editor-in-chief of New Focus International. 

Join the discussion

  • alefal

    A very interesting read! I’m looking forwards to part two of this analysis.

  • http://twitter.com/amcnicholas92 Aaron Mc Nicholas

    Rhetoric that draws on the stylings of Kim Il-sung is more likely to be effective in sustaining the family’s personality cult. Kim Jong-un is less iconic than his father, and Kim Jong-il was less iconic than his father. Continue that trend and eventually the Kim dynasty will fade, so Kim Jong-un has to style himself after his grandfather.

    It’s a long term strategy for a government that observers can barely believe hasn’t collapsed by now. Will there even be another generation of Kim in 50-60 years that’ll have this problem?

  • Pingback: Charisma vs. the Power Grid: Calculating Priorities and Hallucinations in Kim Jong Un’s Speech « SINO-NK