“With the same mentality that conquered the universe, let us open up a new phase in the construction of a powerful economic state,” Kim Jong Eun declared in a televised address to mark New Year’s Day.
Reviving Kim Il Sung’s method of delivering the North Korean leader’s New Year’s address by appearing on Chosun Central TV, Kim went on, “We independently produced and launched a working satellite, and in that spirit we we must mobilize the entire Party, nation and people to bring about a decisive shift in the construction of the strong economic state and people’s livelihoods.”
He added, “The results of economic construction stem from the people’s livelihoods,” going on, “agriculture and light industry must continue to be at the forefront of the nation’s economic construction.”
Such assertions are not new. Promoting the development of light industry has been a key feature of a number of recent New Year’s Joint Editorials, the keynote editorial carried across North Korea’s three main publications; Rodong Shinmun (for the Chosun Workers’ Party), Chosun People’s Army (for the military) and Minju Chosun (for the Cabinet).
Regarding notions of economic improvement, he went on, “We must manage the economic map and management system to suit the demands of development… We must constantly improve and perfect our methods of economic management and transmit good experiences out into a wide variety of units.”
Meanwhile, he also commented on inter-Korean relations, saying, “It is the fundamental premise of inter-Korean relations to respect and apply the inter-Korean joint declarations… The important problem in ending division and achieving unification is to ease the confrontational state between North and South Korea.”
Kim went on to say that the June 15th and October 4th declarations of 2000 and 2007 must be implemented and treated as milestones for inter-Korean peace and prosperity. He did not mention U.S.-North Korea relations or nuclear issues, saying merely that North Korea will continue to expand relations with friendly nations.