• 46°

North Korea’s Kim wants better living standards

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for improving the economy and living standards of his impoverished nation with the same urgency that scientists showed in successfully testing a long-range rocket recently.
Kim’s first New Year’s speech, delivered on state TV, was peppered with rhetoric, with calls for boosting the military’s capabilities and making the science and technology sector world class. But other passages in the speech were also an acknowledgement of the poor state of the country’s economy that has long lagged behind the rest of the region.
North Korea has little arable land, is prone to natural disasters and struggles to grow enough food for its 24 million people.
The annual New Year’s Day message lays out North Korea’s policy goals for the year. But Kim gave no indication whether he plans to introduce economic reforms or allow free enterprise, except to say the economy should be underpinned by science and technology.
“The industrial revolution in the new century is, in essence, a scientific and technological revolution, and breaking through the cutting edge is a shortcut to the building of an economic giant,” he said.
He then pointed at the success of a long-range rocket that North Korea fired on Dec. 12, ostensibly carrying a satellite into space.
“Let us bring about a radical turn in the building of an economic giant with the same spirit and mettle as were displayed in conquering space,” he said.
North Korea has hailed the rocket as a big step in peaceful space exploration. Washington and others called the launch a banned test of ballistic missile technology and a step in Pyongyang’s pursuit of a nuclear tipped long-range missile.
North Korea has tested two atomic devices since 2006, both times weeks after U.N. condemnation of a long-range launch. A recent analysis of North Korea’s main nuclear test site indicates readiness for a possible third atomic explosion.
Kim made no mention of nuclear weapons, but indicated that military will continue to be boosted.
“The sector of defense industry should develop in larger numbers sophisticated military hardware of our own style that can contribute to implementing the Party’s military strategy,” he said.
“Only when it builds up its military might in every way can it develop into a thriving country and defend the security and happiness of its people,” Kim said.
The speech itself was a signal that Kim will continue with a leadership style more in line with his gregarious grandfather, national founder Kim Il Sung who routinely addressed his people on New Year’s Day, than with his father, Kim Jong Il, who avoided making public speeches. He never gave a TV address during his 17-year-rule, and his New Year’s messages were published as joint editorials in the nation’s three major newspapers.
With the speech — the first televised New Year’s Day message by a North Korean leader in 19 years — Kim Jong Un has tried to tap into North Koreans’ fond memories of his grandfather, said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in South Korea.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Lane, ramp closures scheduled for I-85 in Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: March 8

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can homebound seniors be vaccinated?

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury High, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash