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Unpacking Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s message and what it means for 2019

29 11 6

NORTH Korean leader Kim Jong Un is known for his fiery rhetoric and brazen propaganda, both of which have become a regular feature in his annual New Year’s address to the nation.

Each January 1, the leader of the regime broadcasts a speech outlining the country’s strategy and policy for the coming year. This year, Kim sat casually in a leather armchair, flanked by towering portraits of his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather and first Supreme Leader of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung, hard at work.

His physical stance mirrored his message, taking a less combative tone to the nuclear threats of last year.

SEE ALSO: Kim Jong Un fan clubs mushroom in South Korea amid warming ties

While there were no political or policy bombshells, the 31-minute speech wasn’t completely without threat; aiming his ire at the United States’ lack of concessions in negotiations.

Given Pyongyang’s flurry into international diplomacy over the last 12 months, foreign policy experts watched with interest to see what, if anything, would be new in 2019.

What’s does this mean for US relations?

While there was little deviation from known North Korea policy, Kim did include some notable points regarding US relations and the faltering negotiations.

A second summit with US President Donald Trump now looks almost certain after Kim explicitly said he was ready to meet the president at “anytime.” Analysts hope this can kickstart otherwise stalled talks between the US and the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea); a point of frustration highlighted by Kim in his speech.

Kim’s declaration that North Korea will no longer “create, test, use, or proliferate nuclear weapons” may also be a starting point for negotiations.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before their bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on........

© Asian Correspondent