Friday, January 1st, 2021
“I will work hard”
Kim writes New Year’s letter to compatriots
Nobody knows what the economic situation in North Korea really is. Kim Jong Un reveals so much in a letter to the population of the isolated country: These are “difficult times”. That is why the ruler expresses his thanks.
The North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un thanked the population in a rare New Year’s letter for supporting the ruling party in these “difficult times”. The handwritten letter was published shortly before an important party congress aimed at setting the country’s economic goals. Kim usually gives a TV address on January 1st, but he skipped it for the first time last year.
The New Year’s letter reached North Koreans after the festivities in Kim-Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang, where the New Year started with fireworks, singing and dancing. The celebration took place despite the corona pandemic, which, according to the authorities, has not yet reached the country.
In the letter circulated by the state news agency KCNA, Kim wished the people good luck and health and wrote: “In the New Year I will work hard to usher in the new era even earlier, in which the ideals and desires of our people in Fulfillment will go. ” Kim also thanked the public for the party’s support “in difficult times” – apparently referring to the economic hardship caused by international sanctions and the tough measures taken to combat the coronavirus. According to South Korean media, Kim’s father Kim Jong Il last sent a New Year’s message to the people in 1995.
The congress, at which a new economic and political plan is to be drawn up, is the first such meeting in five years and only the eighth in North Korean history. Preparations for the largest political gathering in the country are in full swing. The delegates for the 8th Congress of the Workers’ Party had arrived in Pyongyang and were warmly welcomed by the citizens of the capital, state media reported on Thursday. The participants also received a certificate at a ceremony.
Waiting for a new five year plan
South Korean media interpreted the reports as a sign that the beginning of the likely multi-day congress of the workers’ party in the neighboring country could be imminent. Formally, the Congress, which was originally supposed to be held every five years, is the party’s most important body. But the 7th Congress in May 2016 was the first in 36 years. At that time, the ruler Kim was elected to the newly created post of party chairman, thereby consolidating his position at the top of the organization.
The North Korean media reported this week that Kim chaired a Politburo meeting on Tuesday to prepare for Congress in early January. When exactly the meeting started, however, was not announced. In August, North Korea announced that the next Congress would review the work of the Central Committee “and present a new five-year plan for economic development”. A new leadership team of the Central Committee will also be elected. Because of its nuclear weapons program, North Korea is subject to international sanctions that hamper the country’s economic development.
In South Korea it was speculated that North Korea could also set a new political course towards the USA and South Korea. Negotiations between the USA and North Korea about its nuclear program have not made any progress since Kim’s failed summit with US President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February 2019.