25 February 2018

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04/16/2012 KOREA

Kim Jong-un speaks (for the first time), greets South Koreans

The young dictator speaks at the centennial celebration of his grandfather's birth. He follows up his "greetings to our compatriots in South Korea and across the world who dedicate themselves to reunification and the prosperity of the nations" with the usual militaristic propaganda, adding however that North Koreans will "never again tighten their belts".

Seoul (AsiaNews) - In his first speech since coming to power, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un blended his father's threatening words with his grandfather's mannerism whilst showing an unexpected openness to the rest of the world. Speaking before crowds of soldiers parading in Pyongyang's main square, Kim the third said, "I express my greetings to our compatriots in South Korea and across the world who dedicate themselves to reunification and the prosperity of the nations".

At the same time, the young Kim warned his usual enemies, saying that its nuclear-armed enemies would not bully North Korea. The "era of enemies using atomic bombs to threaten and blackmail us is forever over," he said. "In order to realise our goal of building a socialist, strong and prosperous nation, we must first, second and third strengthen the people's army on all fronts," he added.

The speech was made during festivities honouring the 100th birthday of his late grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and the founding father of North Korea. The regime invested heavily in the special event in terms of time and money to assert the power and image of Kim Jong-un, who succeeded his father Kim Jong-il, after he died back in December.

From the regime point of view, the celebrations were marred however by the failure of its space rocket, which fell a few minutes into its launch.

The Unha-3 flop suggests that Pyongyang might be preparing a new nuclear test, like the one of 2008, which brought to an international humanitarian assistance.

Ruled by Kim Il-sung's militarist doctrine, North Korea is de facto run by generals. At present, "a power struggle is underway with the new dictator," sources in Korea told AsiaNews. The young Kim "is more open to dialogue than his military advisers. The latter know that with peace they would end up in prison."

Wearing a dark Mao suit, the young Kim has adopted a style favoured by his grandfather. On the balcony above Pyongyang's main square today, he laughed and joked freely with senior officials, and addressed the crowds directly.

By contrast, "Glory for the heroic soldiers of the Korea People's Army" is all his father Kim Jong-il managed to say in public in 17 years in power.

The son appears to have a more human touch. At the end of his speech, he alluded to the country's food supply problem (half of all North Koreans live on less than a dollar a day), when he said that the people should "never again [have to] tighten their belts".

See also

09/05/2016 18:10:00 NORTH KOREA
Kim Jong-un to focus on nukes, burying his father’s legacy and any hope for peace

The Workers' Party of Korea is holding its first congress in 36 years. Dressed in tie and suit to honour his grandfather Kim Il-sung, the country’s young dictator rejects international demands, and asserts that North Korea is a responsible nuclear power. He also reasserts the regime’s principles of Juche and Songun, adding byungjin or dual-track approach to nuclear development.

12/03/2009 KOREA
Pyongyang: satellite launch “imminent”
The North’s communist regime reiterates its’ intention to push ahead with its spatial experiment. The launch should take place between April 4th and 8th. Seoul and Washington maintain it is a missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The US government threatens fresh sanctions at the UN Security Council. Kim Jong-un is not among the 687 new North Korean parliamentarians.

20/12/2011 KOREA
North Korean television broadcasts images of Kim Jong-il's remains
Today, successor to Kim Jong-un pays tribute to his father's remains, along with military leaders and party members. But international fear is mounting of a power struggle that would open a period of instability in the region. Crowds of thousands weep and cry as a sign of mourning. Seoul has decided to send official condolences to Pyongyang. At the same time, it enhances the security on the border with the North and China. The United States augurs a "path of peace" for the country.

13/10/2010 NORTH KOREA – CHINA
Beijing to protect Kim Jong-il’s first-born
Kim Jong-nam, the deal leader’s first son, fell from grade in 2001 and now lives in Macau. In recent days, he criticised the regime’s dynastic succession, causing the ire of his brother Kim Jong-un, official heir to North Korea’s dictator.

29/02/2008 NORTH KOREA
Clapton invitation means Kim Jong-il has chosen his heir
Kim Jong-chul is the chosen one. First son from the Dear Leader’s fourth marriage, he is said to love the music of the American guitar player. Since last year he is deputy chairman of a leadership division of the Korean Workers' Party, the same post his father had before taking over.

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