Kim Jong Un’s 2018 speech offered a mix of hope and a mix of fear. The young leader declared he had a nuclear button on his desk and the U.S. fell within range of his missiles, while also offering to send a team to the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics as a way to warm relations with South Korea.
It was the beginning of what would be an extraordinary year in North Korea’s international relations.
South Korea warmed to the Olympic overture and just over a month later, the world watched as Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong traveled around Seoul and attended various Olympic events.
The nuclear button reference was obviously too good for U.S. President Trump to pass up, and the next day he tweeted this:
Trump and Kim would go on to meet in Singapore in June 2018.
Highlighted Achievements of 2017
During the speech, Kim Jong Un named a handful of completed economic projects including the construction of a domestically-developed oxygen-blast furnace at Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex, the building of Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang and a livestock farming area in the Sepo area.
Presentation and Broadcast
The speech was prerecorded and broadcast on Korean Central Television at 9 am on January 1, 2018. It was repeated later the same day at 10 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 8 pm and 10:55 pm. Prior to its broadcast, KCTV alerted viewers at 8:20am, 8:30 am and 8:45 am that the speech was about to be aired. The speech was also repeated on January 2 at 10:30 am, 4 pm, 6:17 pm and 8:30 pm and on January 3 at 9:15 am, 2:06 pm, 7 pm and 9 pm.
- New York Times: Kim Jong-un Offers North Korea’s Hand to South, While Chiding U.S.
- The Guardian: Kim Jong-un: North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is now complete
- Washington Post: North Korean leader says he has ‘nuclear button’ but won’t use it unless threatened
- CNN: Kim Jong Un offers rare olive branch to South Korea