October 23, 2020

Why Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech opted for more of the same

The North Korean leader knows that stalling for time remains his best option

The New Year Address can be seen as one of the DPRK’s oldest traditions – it was first delivered by Kim Il Sung in 1946, and since then, at the beginning of every year, North Koreans have been treated to a lengthy speech delivered by their leader.

For a few years under Kim Jong Il the speech was presented as a ‘joint editorial’ of major newspapers, but this hardly changed its nature: the New Year Address is a report of how North Korea's leaders see the country’s situation, and also offers hints as to the goals they hope to achieve the next year.