© Reuters. File photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks at the eighth meeting of military educators of the Korean People’s Army at the Cultural Palace in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 25. This undated photo was released on December 7, 2021. KCNA via R
SEOUL (Reuters)-According to a summary by state media on Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a speech at the end of his tenth year in power, referring more to tractor factories and school uniforms than to nuclear weapons or the United States.
Kim Jong-un delivered a speech at the end of the Fourth Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee on Friday, saying that North Korea’s main goal in 2022 will be to start economic development and improve people’s lives because it faces a “great life-and-death struggle.” The Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) started on Monday.
The meeting coincides with the tenth anniversary of Kim Jong Un https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/nkorea-after-10-years-kim-jong-un-better-armed-more-isolated-than -ever-2021- 12-15 After his father passed away in 2011, he effectively assumed the leadership of the country.
Kim Jong-un used speeches around the New Year to announce major policies, including important diplomatic contacts with South Korea and the United States.
However, the summary of his speech in North Korea’s official media did not specifically mention the United States, but only slightly mentioned non-specific discussions on North-South Korea relations and “foreign affairs.”
The domestic focus of the speech emphasized the economic problems that Kim Jong Il is facing at home, where the self-imposed border blockade against the pandemic has made North Korea more isolated than ever, and international aid organizations warned of possible food shortages and humanitarian crises.
Kim Jong Un said: “The main task facing our party and people next year is to provide practical guarantees for the implementation of the Five-Year Plan and bring about significant changes in national development and people’s lives.”
King spent most of his speech expounding domestic issues in detail, from ambitious rural development plans to people’s diet, school uniforms, and the need to combat “non-socialist behavior.”
Chad O’Carroll, founder of NK News, a Seoul-based website that tracks North Korea, said the high focus on rural development may be a populist strategy.
He wrote on Twitter: “In general, Kim Jong-un may realize that revealing complex military development plans when people outside Pyongyang suffer from food shortages and poor conditions may not be a good idea this year.”
The official media reported on Saturday that the development of “one-by-one ultra-modern weapon system” was a major achievement of the past year, and that Kim Jong-un called for strengthening national defense in response to the unstable international situation.
Foreign analysts said that a tractor factory he discussed in his speech is likely to be used to make missile delivery vehicles. It is believed that North Korea has expanded its arsenal despite being in a blockade.
The report of Kim Jong Un’s speech did not mention the United States’ call for denuclearization negotiations, nor did it mention South Korea’s push to announce the formal end of the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 as a way to restart these negotiations.
North Korea has previously stated that it is open to diplomacy, but while military exercises and sanctions and other “hostile acts” continue, the US’s posture appears hollow.
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