September 23, 2023

How to interpret Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s address

History shows North Korea's supreme leader uses speech to signal a direction for the country

Since the rise of Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang watchers have become accustomed to hearing the head of the North Korean state delivering a New Year's address each January 1.

Such a tradition exists in many nations. For example, in the late 1930s, each New Year's Day Korean newspapers published portraits of the Imperial couple of Japan and the speech of the Governor-General Minami Jiro, which was usually dedicated to the greatness of "His Imperial Majesty the Generalissimo" and his army.