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Kim Jong Un welcomed North Korea into 2013 by making the first public address to the nation by one its leaders in nearly two decades.
In the New Year’s speech, Kim called for renewed efforts to achieve peace and stability on the peninsula, and to avoid further confrontations with the South. With national morale at an all-time high after the recent satellite rocket launch, Kim also seemed eager to capitalize on positive sentiments, stating that the nation should tackle economic issues with the same vigor that it showed in ‘conquering space’.
In the speech, Kim Jong Un stated that “an important issue in putting an end to the division of the country and achieving its reunification is to remove confrontation between the north and the south”
The address marked a departure from the reclusive leadership style of his father, who avoided public speeches and appearances whenever he could. Instead, Kim Jong Un seems to be following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who emphasized direct contact with the people.
Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Kim Jong Un’s speech editor, which we’ll be publishing in the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, the style and wording of his speech sounded noticeably ‘soft’ for the self-declared ‘military first country’, although the themes of North Korea building itself up as an economic powerhouse while retaining nuclear power and ultimately seeking for reunification “by the concerted efforts of [our] nation in an independent manner” were more familiar pieces of rhetoric. No concrete measures were laid out as to how the DPRK would go about achieving any of these goals.
Kim Jong Un made several references to the accomplishments of his country under Kim Il Sung’s rule, perhaps attempting to rekindle the positive emotions and national pride that North Koreans felt under the leadership of the nation’s ‘Eternal Leader’ – implying that under the young Kim the DPRK is headed towards a new golden era.
For more analysis on Kim Jong Un’s new year’s speech, come back tomorrow when we’ll be publishing an opinion piece by a former North Korean Intelligence office.
Away from the politics, North Korea welcomed the new year with fireworks over the Pyongyang skyline, which you can catch a glimpse of below.
Happy New Year!
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