Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kim Jong Un New Year's Address

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for an end to confrontation between the two Koreas in a surprise New Year's broadcast on state media. The address by Kim, who took power in the reclusive state after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011, appeared to take the place of the policy-setting New Year's editorial published annually in the past in leading state newspapers.
The New Year's address was the first in 19 years by a North Korean leader, following the death of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un's grandfather. Kim Jong-il rarely spoke in public and disclosed his national policy agenda in editorials in state newspapers.
Kim's statement apparently contains a message that he has an intention to dispel the current face-off (between the two Koreas), which could eventually be linked with the North's call for aid from the South.
Kim Jong-un's New Year's message was different in format but not in content. The young leader is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, rather than his father. While the younger Kim's public diplomacy resonates well with the North Korean public, the new North Korean leader's impact on the outside world is undermined by North Korea's continued provocations and bombastic rhetoric.

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