Kim Jong Un’s second new year speech as leader came less than a month after the bombshell arrest, trial and execution of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek. During the speech, Kim chose to comment on the issue and that became the major headline in the world’s media.
“We took the resolute measure of removing the factionalists lurking in the Party,” Kim said and then praised it as the “correct decision.”
During the speech he returned to main theme of his address a year earlier, when he said that North and South Korea should enjoy better relations.
“It is high time to put an end to such slander and calumny that bring no good to both sides, and they should desist from doing anything detrimental to national unity and reconciliation,” he said, while calling on the south to end its “reckless confrontation with their compatriots.” He said nothing of changing North Korea’s attitude.
And a little bit of mystery surrounded this comment: “I extend tribute also to the martyrs who dedicated their precious lives to national defence and socialist construction last year.” It wasn’t entirely clear if he was referring to an unreported incident that claimed many lives or was a broader recognition of people who died in service to the country during the year.
Highlighted Achievements of 2013
As highlights of the year, Kim named the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Unha Scientists Street, Munsu Water Park and Masikryong Ski Resort projects. He also referenced the new slogan “Masikryong speed,” which referred to the fast 10-month speed at which the ski resort was reportedly constructed.
A year earlier he spoke of the adoption of a new law covering a universal 12-year compulsory education and this year said the country had worked to enforce it. Without naming any specific people or projects, he also praised progress in science and technology, the health sector and North Korean athletes who won gold medals at international events.
Presentation and broadcast:
The speech was prerecorded and broadcast on Korean Central Television at 9am on January 1. Prior to broadcast, North Korean TV alerted viewers at 8:06am, 8:31am and 9:48am that the speech was about to be broadcast. It was repeated the same day at 12pm, 5pm and 8pm; on January 2 at 9:13am, 3:08pm, 7:08pm and 8:23pm; on January 3 at 9:14am, 3pm and 6pm; on January 4 at 3:11pm and 6:38pm and on January 5 at 11:01am, 6pm and 8:24pm.
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