In case this isn’t self-evident, all analysis of North Korean New Year’s speeches is crap.*

In this year’s annual New Year’s Day message, Kim Jong Un boasted about his squalid little kingdom’s “brilliant successes in building a thriving socialist country and defending socialism,” its “upsurge … in production in several sectors and units of the national economy,” its “brilliant victory in the acute showdown with the imperialists,” and its “policies of respecting the people and loving them.” It’s crap like this that makes me proud of how little I’ve contributed to the torrent of junk analysis foisted on you after every one of these speeches.

To analyze a North Korean New Year’s speech is to embark on an intellectual misadventure. It can’t be otherwise when you start with an input that must be discounted by the mendacity of political promises in general, the mendacity of this regime in particular, and Kim Jong Un’s personal unsteadiness and detachment from declared principle. The meaning of the words degrades further under analysis that invariably veers toward wishful thinking, baseless speculation, or the ridiculous over-analysis of information that is almost entirely useless. Rudiger Frank provides an example of the latter by expending 4,039 words of sonorous, pedantic linguistic parsing on a 4,416-word speech, and even attempts to find year-on-year empirical trends in the frequency of usage of specific words. He might as well have counted the sand grains on a beach at low tide. If the Rain Man earned a Ph.D. in Asia studies, this is what I imagine he’d write.

The most typical error, however, is to turn each speech into a Rorschach test of that splotch on Gorbachev’s head. If, as is usually the case, the analyst’s bias is to believe that North Korea really wants glasnost, perestroika, and peace in our time, he can always find some confirmation for it among 4,000 words of vague and mutually conflicting language (though this year may be especially challenging in this regard).

This Rorshach fallacy has a good pedigree. A year ago, AP reporters Foster Klug and Sam Kim seized on the purge of Ri Yong Ho and the elevation of “moderates” close to Jang Song Thaek (enough said about that). Alexandre Mansourov, overlooking evidence of increased domestic repression and the disappearance of 30,000 prisoners in Camp 22, cited the New Year’s message as bringing “an end to the era of faceless joint party editorials” and ushering in a hopeful new era. (Since then, we’ve all gained a clearer view of what Kim Jong Un’s personal touch looks like.) The January 1, 2012 speech, Kim Jong Un’s first, promised a drive for prosperity (not so much). In the 2011 New Year’s message, the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Ramstad saw the threats (thankfully, unrealized), and the AP quoted South Korea’s Unification Minister and a South Korean academic, who saw an interest in talks (ditto). My favorite example, however, is this one, via CNN, circa January 2010:

North Korea stated its commitment to lasting peace and a nuclear-free Korean peninsula in an editorial published on New Year’s Day, state-run media reported.

“The Workers’ Party of Korea and the government … will strive to develop relations of good-neighborliness and friendship with other countries and achieve global independence under the unfurled banner of independence, peace and friendship,” KCNA reported. The editorial may be a hopeful sign as the international community tries to coax Pyongyang back to six-party negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear program.

Two months after this was published, North Korea sank a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors. Eight months after that, it shelled a South Korean fishing village, killing two Marines and two civilians. North Korea hasn’t shown up for six-party talks since 2008, and even then, only showed up to lie its way out of sanctions. A great philosopher — I believe it was Rutger Hauer — characterized it best: their words are like tears … in rain.

~  ~  ~

Because a lot of people are slow learners, this year, Yonhap is grasping at Kim Jong Un’s call for “an atmosphere for improving North-South relations,” and declaring it an “olive branch.” Within a day, it promoted this clause to a full-fledged “peace offensive.” To do this, however, it had to ignore Kim Jong Un’s inconvenient salute to his “compatriots in the south, who are fighting for independence, democracy and national reunification,” presumably including those currently on trial for “conspir[ing] to storm firearms depots to secure weapons, destroy oil-storage and communication facilities and assassinate unspecified figures” in support of a North Korean invasion. Had it swapped the words it quoted for those it ignored, its headline might have read, “Kim Jong Un calls for terrorist attacks in South Korea.” Sure, that would be a stretch, but it wouldn’t be any less silly than calling the speech an “olive branch.” And in South Korea, where it’s illegal to read the original speech on KCNA — which is ridiculous — this half-truth could deceive plenty of people. (I’ve pasted the full text below the jump in case you’re in South Korea and care to read it. Not that you should, if you’ve read this far.)

Another example comes from Bob Carlin, who finds hopeful signs in what he sees as North Korean media’s “surprisingly restrained … treatment of ROK President Park Geun-hye.” (Indeed, it’s been all of six weeks since North Korea called her a “political prostitute.”) Carlin finds that thin reed, but doesn’t find this thick paragraph:

The US and south Korean war maniacs have deployed legions of equipment for a nuclear war in and around the Korean peninsula and are going frantic in their military exercises for a nuclear war against the north; this precipitates a critical situation where any accidental military skirmish may lead to an all-out war. Should another war break out on this land, it will result in a deadly nuclear catastrophe and the United States will never be safe. All the Korean people must not tolerate the manoeuvres for war and confrontation by the bellicose forces at home and abroad but stoutly resist and frustrate them.

Carlin thinks that we can set the stage for talks by “agreeing to stop slander of the other.” But of course, North Korea’s definition of “slander” includes speech protected under Chapter II, Article 21 of the South Korean Constitution, and maybe even speech that’s protected by the First Amendment of our own. Carlin also overlooks North Korea’s implicit rejection of returning to six-party talks:

To resolve the reunification issue in keeping with the aspirations and desires of our fellow countrymen, we should reject foreign forces and hold fast to the standpoint of By Our Nation Itself.

The driving force for national reunification is all the members of the Korean nation in the north, in the south and abroad; only when we remain steadfast in this standpoint can we reunify the country independently in line with our nation’s interests and demands. To go on a tour around foreign countries touting for “international cooperation” in resolving the inter-Korean relations issue, the one related with our nation, is a humiliating treachery of leaving its destiny in the hands of outside forces. The north and the south should uphold the principle of independence which is one of the three principles for national reunification and has been confirmed in the north-south joint declarations, hold fast to the standpoint of By Our Nation Itself, and respect and implement the declarations with sincerity.

Does that mean North Korea isn’t coming back to the six-party talks? Hell if I know. My point is that vagueness times mendacity divided by selection bias times preconception plus confirmation bias equals garbage with the predictive utility of an asthmatic nonagenarian’s horoscope, if a lunatic wrote it. Not since the drafting of the United Nations Charter have so many keystrokes been wasted on anything so meaningless. Unless Kim Jong Un uses his next New Year’s address to announce his abdication, I look forward to watching the news media treat the next of these addresses as the non-event it will be.

You know what would be real news? If the next New Year’s address North Korea sees is delivered by Park Geun Hye.

This isn’t to say that the address was completely devoid of anything interesting. Kim conceded that “the circumstances were harsh and complicated last year,” which would still be mildly remarkable even if it wasn’t juxtaposed with Kim being callous enough to tell 23 million half-starved people that he’d just built them a ski resort, a war museum, and a water park.

Personally, I read these speeches for their humor, not their predictive value. In my favorite part of this year’s address, Kim Jong Un seemed to be promising a reign of terror to crush any hint of reform or dissent — the kind of promise North Korea usually keeps — before he revealed the entire speech to be a practical joke:

It is imperative to establish the monolithic leadership system in the Party, definitely ensure the purity of Party ranks and improve the militant functions and role of Party organizations. We should intensify ideological education among officials, Party members and other working people to ensure that they think and act at all times and in all places in line with the Party’s ideas and intentions with the steadfast faith that they know only the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and our Party. We should ensure that they approach with political awareness even the slightest phenomenon and element that infringe on the unity of the Party and revolutionary ranks and undermine their single-hearted unity, and eliminate them in a thoroughgoing way. They should wage a vigorous struggle to stamp out any sort of alien ideology and decadent lifestyle which may undermine our system and thus resolutely smash the enemy’s schemes for ideological and cultural infiltration.

Get it? Kim Jong Un had just flown in from his new ski resort.

Kim Jong Un ski

[We begin this year with a new entry for the gallery of unfortunate North Korean photo ops]

I’d like to think that when he got home after the speech, he emailed Dennis Rodman, surfed for some bondage porn, and then had a good laugh about the fact that people all over the world were actually going to devote hours of analysis to every meaningless word of that wretched crap he’d just read.

* Unless, maybe, the analyst is Jang Jin-Sung, “the man who used to orchestrate the nexus between internal policy planning and external presentation” before he defected. See comments.

Pyongyang, January 1 (KCNA) — Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, made a New Year address on January 1, 2014. The following is its full text:
Dear comrades,
Dear service personnel of the Korean People’s Army, all the people and other compatriots,
Having seen out 2013, a year in which we left a remarkable footprint on the road of the sacred march of the Juche revolution, we are seeing in the new year 2014 filled with confidence in the future and revolutionary self-respect.
Reflecting the boundless yearning and high respect of all the service personnel and people for the great President Kim Il Sung and GeneralKim Jong Il, I would like first to pay the highest tribute and New Year greetings to them.
I extend tribute also to the martyrs who dedicated their precious lives to national defence and socialist construction last year and New Year greetings to all the service personnel and people who are opening a new era of the country’s prosperity following the leadership of our Party.
And greeting the new year I wish that the families across the country would overflow with greater happiness and joy.
My New Year greetings go also to my compatriots in the south, who are fighting for independence, democracy and national reunification, to my compatriots abroad, who are devoting their all to the prosperity of their motherland, and to the progressive peoples of the world and other foreign friends, who love justice and peace.
Last year was a proud year in which the entire Party, the whole army and all the people waged an all-out offensive in support of the Party’s new line of developing the two fronts simultaneously and thus achieved brilliant successes in building a thriving socialist country and defending socialism.
Last year our service personnel and people, firmly rallied behind the Party, exalted the brilliance of the ideas and cause of the President and the General and strengthened the political and ideological might of our revolutionary ranks all the more.
Through the political events held in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK and the 60th anniversary of victory in the Fatherland Liberation War and in the whole course of last year’s struggle, they demonstrated their firm faith and will in holding the President and the General in high esteem and carrying forward their imperishable exploits to posterity.
Our Party’s policies of respecting the people and loving them and the people’s hearty loyalty of trusting and following the Party as they would do their mothers have become integrated, and thus the blood-sealed ties between them have reached a new, higher stage.
In the seething period of the effort for building a thriving country last year we took the resolute measure of removing the factionalists lurking in the Party. As our Party detected and purged the anti-Party, counterrevolutionary factionalists at an opportune time and with a correct decision, the Party and revolutionary ranks were further consolidated and our single-hearted unity was solidified to the maximum. Through this struggle our Party affirmed that as a party that serves the people, it will fully discharge the honourable mission it has assumed for the times and history and devote its all to the good of the people by enhancing its militant functions and role.
Last year we consolidated our capabilities for self-defence and achieved a brilliant victory in the acute showdown with the imperialists.
The scientists, technicians and workers in the sector of defence industry, by going beyond the cutting edge of military science with steadfast faith and mettle, demonstrated the strength of Songun Korea and rendered great services to consolidating the national defence capabilities. The officers and men of the Korean People’s Army and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, cherishing the spirit of defending their leader and motherland unto death, defended their Party and leader, country and people at the risk of their lives and smashed the reckless moves of the enemy for igniting a nuclear war and their rackets of confrontation with the DPRK at every step, thus highly exalting the dignity and might of their country.
Though the circumstances were harsh and complicated last year, our service personnel and people, by pooling their efforts, achieved great successes in the struggle to build their country into an economic giant and improve the people’s standard of living.
An upsurge was brought about in production in several sectors and units of the national economy, and the foundations of the self-supporting economy were further consolidated. The officials and working people in the agricultural sector in particular made innovations in production even under difficult conditions and unfavourable natural climate and thus contributed to improving the people’s standard of living.
The service personnel and other builders set up numerous monumental structures for the prosperity of their country and well-being of their fellow people and ushered in a heyday of construction.
Having turned out in response to the Party’s appeal to create the “Masikryong speed,” they carried out many construction projects, like the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Unha Scientists Street, Munsu Water Park and Masikryong Ski Resort, in a short period as befitting the creations in the era of the Workers’ Party by displaying burning patriotic enthusiasm and working with devotion. In this way, they showed their country’s proud appearance, which is changing with each passing day, and ensured that the people’s laughter of happiness could ring out louder. Those who turned out for the reclamation of the Sepho Plateau and other large-scale construction projects tamed nature, overcoming difficulties, thereby opening a breakthrough in realizing the Party’s far-reaching plan at an early date.
Also, the sector of culture, including sports and education, made fresh strides last year.
True to the Party’s intention of building our country into a sports power, a strong wind of conducting sports swept the country, and our trustworthy sportspeople won gold medals in international competitions and thus highly exalted the honour of their motherland. Preparations for enforcing a universal 12-year compulsory education were successfully promoted, many achievements made in the sector of science and technology, and up-to-date medical facilities introduced for the improvement of medical services for the people. The sector of musical art created many famous works of our times, inspiring loyalty in all the service personnel and people and encouraging them to wage a dynamic struggle and perform great feats.
The shining victories and successes we achieved last year can be ascribed to the fact that the entire Party, the whole army and all the people, in support of the revolutionary and people-oriented lines and policies of our Party and its wise leadership, waged a heroic struggle with an indomitable faith and will to build a thriving socialist country without fail.
Through last year’s struggle we clearly demonstrated that our ideology, our strength and our way are the best and no force can check our sacred cause advancing to accomplish a far-reaching ideal and goal.
I extend heartfelt thanks to all the service personnel and people, who adorned the meaningful year 2013 with eye-opening successes by displaying boundless loyalty to the Party, warm affection for their country and unparalleled self-sacrificing spirit.
Comrades,
The new year 2014 will be a year of grandiose struggle, a year of sea changes, in which we will raise a fierce wind of making a fresh leap forward on all fronts of building a thriving socialist country and thus usher in a golden age of Songun Korea.
Our struggle of this year is a worthwhile struggle to translate the people’s beautiful ideals and dreams into reality at an early date and a victors’ march leading to the venue of grand festival for celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the glorious Workers’ Party of Korea.
In this hope-filled year we should usher in a great heyday in the revolution and construction by quickening the heroic march with enthusiasm and confidence in victory.
“Let us raise a fierce wind of making a fresh leap forward on all fronts of building a thriving country filled with confidence in victory!” — this is the militant slogan our Party and people should uphold this year.
This year we should ensure that the sectors of agriculture, construction and science and technology hold the torch of innovations in the van and the flames of the torch flare up as flames of a leap forward on all the fronts of socialist construction.
This year is a meaningful one that marks the 50th anniversary of the theses on socialist rural question made public by President Kim Il Sung.
We should clearly prove the validity and vitality of the theses by waging the ideological, technological and cultural revolutions dynamically in the rural areas and bringing about a decisive turn in agricultural production. This year we should keep up agriculture as a major thrust of our effort in the struggle for economic construction and improving the people’s standard of living, and concentrate all our efforts on farming. The agricultural sector should proactively introduce scientific farming methods and do farm work in a responsible manner so as to hit without fail the target of agricultural production set by the Party. It should improve animal husbandry and do greenhouse vegetable and mushroom farming on an extensive scale so as to ensure that larger quantities of meat, vegetables and mushrooms are supplied to the people.
We should usher in a new heyday of construction this year.
Construction is an important front for solidifying the foundations of a thriving country and creating bases for the people’s happy life. The construction sector should set up world-class structures representative of the Songun era and build many other structures that could contribute to improving the people’s living conditions, thus laying firm foundations of the self-supporting economy and providing the people with conditions for a more affluent and civilized life. Construction of power stations in tiers on the Chongchon River, livestock farming bases in the Sepho area, the Kosan Fruit Farm and a waterway in South Hwanghae Province and reclamation of tidal flats and other major projects should be stepped up to be completed on schedule. It is important to push ahead with the construction of dwelling houses and dormitories and construction for improving the conditions and environment for education, and set up cultural and welfare service bases on the highest standard. This year, too, the service personnel and people should make concerted efforts to build up Pyongyang so that it is more grandiose, and lay out the provinces, cities and counties so that they sustain their respective local features.
Science and technology are a propellant for building a thriving country, and the happiness of the people and the future of the country hinge on their development.
The scientific research sector should open a shortcut to the building of a knowledge-based economy by solving the long-term problems in developing the country’s economy and improving the people’s standard of living as well as scientific and technological problems arising in the actual situation and by going beyond the cutting edge. All scientists and technicians should achieve high results by skilfully riding the excellent “steed” provided to them by the Party and giving fullest scope to their talents and enthusiasm. By doing so, they can become true patriots who contribute to building a thriving nation. A climate of attaching importance to science and technology should prevail across society, and all officials and working people should diligently learn modern science and technology upholding the slogan of making all the people well versed in science and technology.
We should raise fierce flames of innovations in the vanguard sectors, basic industrial sectors, and all other sectors of the national economy.
The metallurgical and chemical industries are twin buttresses of an economic giant. Developing these industries is a major guarantee for economic construction and improving the people’s standard of living. These industrial sectors should hold high the slogan of making them Juche-oriented and modern and launch a vigorous campaign for boosting production by relying on our own raw materials and fuels and on the latest science and technology. In this way they should supply sufficient amounts of steel and various kinds of chemical goods that are needed to reenergize the national economy as a whole and improve the people’s standard of living.
We should give definite priority to electric-power and coal-mining industries. While taking measures for generating electricity to the maximum at the existing power stations, we should draw up correct prospective plans for radically easing the strain on electricity supply and exert ourselves to carry them out. It is important to produce more electricity with priority given to hydraulic resources and by using wind, geothermal, solar and other kinds of natural energy. We should proactively increase production in coal mines and drastically solve the problem of rail and other types of transport. The electric-power and coal-mining industries and the rail transport sector should make coordinated innovations and thus give strong impetus to the development of the national economy.
We should direct great efforts to developing light industry which plays a major part in improving the people’s standard of living. By stepping up modernization of and introduction of CNC technology into their production lines and increasing the proportion of locally-available raw and other materials, light-industry factories should put production on a normal footing. And all cities and counties should produce various kinds of quality consumer goods in larger amounts by developing local industry in conformity with their specific conditions.
The state should take measures to bolster up the fishing sector. The sector should follow the example of the fishing sector of the People’s Army that landed a huge haul of fishes by carrying out the order of the Supreme Commander unto death. By modernizing fishing vessels and implements and launching a dynamic fishing campaign by scientific methods, it should ensure that all ports resound with whistles of vessels returning with full loads. It should also conduct shallow-sea farming on an extensive scale.
We should protect and increase the country’s priceless natural resources including underground, forest and marine resources, and conduct an energetic mass-based tree-planting drive to cover all the mountains with thick forests.
All the sectors of the national economy should increase production by tapping all potentials and latent reserves, and at the same time launch a brisk economization campaign. Economizing is precisely production and a manifestation of patriotism. We should intensify the economization campaign throughout society so as to make economical use of every watt of electricity, every gramme of coal and every drop of water. All the people should establish a habit of meticulously managing the country’s economy with a high sense of patriotism and attitude as befitting masters.
We should decisively improve the guidance and management of the economy. We should tighten the unified guidance of the economy by the state under the leadership of the Party, enhance the sense of responsibility and creativity of enterprises and encourage all the working people to discharge their responsibility and role as masters of production and management.
We should make a big stride in the construction of culture, including education.
The sector of education should improve the contents, methods, conditions and environment of education as required by the revolution and developing times and bring about a fresh turn in education, including secondary general education. By putting efforts to medical treatment and preventive medicine for promoting the people’s health, the public health sector should ensure that the benefits of socialist healthcare system reach the people more closely.
Art and literature are a bugler, a powerful propellant, for the revolutionary advance in building a thriving country. The sector of art and literature should produce large numbers of masterpieces of the times, which are high in ideological and artistic qualities and touch the heartstrings of the audience keeping step with the advance of our revolution and vibrant realities.
We should raise more fiercely the strong wind of conducting sports throughout the country. We should encourage sportspeople to intensify training with a high ambition to become world champions, and splendidly implement the Party’s plan of building our country into a sports power by developing sports science and technology and implementing the policy of making sports mass-based.
We should continue to channel great efforts into building up the country’s defence capabilities.
Strengthening defence capabilities is the most important of all state affairs, and the country’s dignity, people’s happiness and peace rest on powerful arms.
We should further develop the People’s Army into the powerful revolutionary army of Paektusan that is unfailingly faithful to the Party, the leader, the country and the people. The main link in the whole chain of developing the People’s Army is strengthening the company which is the basic combat unit of the army and base of soldiers’ life. We should make all the companies elite combat ranks fully prepared politically and ideologically, militarily and technologically and their dear homes overflowing with brotherly affection. By stepping up political and ideological education among service personnel, we should train them to be strong in ideology and faith and ready to defend the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun and the Party Central Committee unto death. They should intensify combat training and launch a brisk movement for becoming crackshots so as to prepare themselves to be a-match-for-a-hundred combatants with excellent marksmanship, strong physique and a high sense of discipline.
The Korean People’s Internal Security Forces should creditably discharge its noble mission and duty of defending the leader, system and people by thoroughly establishing the Party’s command system and revolutionary military climate in it, and the Worker-Peasant Red Guards should intensify combat training and remain fully ready for action at all times.
The sector of defence industry should manufacture larger numbers of modern military hardware of our own style that are light, unmanned, intelligent and of high precision to solidify the self-defence capabilities.
We should further consolidate the political and ideological position of our revolution.
The political and ideological position is a fortress that decides the victory and failure in the battle of defending socialism, and consolidating the revolutionary ranks politically and ideologically is the most important task facing us.
In this significant year, in which we greet the 40th anniversary of the programme of modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism advanced by the great General, we should solidify the Party organizationally and ideologically, train all the members of society to be equipped with Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and cement the single-hearted unity of the revolutionary ranks.
It is imperative to establish the monolithic leadership system in the Party, definitely ensure the purity of Party ranks and improve the militant functions and role of Party organizations. We should intensify ideological education among officials, Party members and other working people to ensure that they think and act at all times and in all places in line with the Party’s ideas and intentions with the steadfast faith that they know only the great ComradesKim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and our Party. We should ensure that they approach with political awareness even the slightest phenomenon and element that infringe on the unity of the Party and revolutionary ranks and undermine their single-hearted unity, and eliminate them in a thoroughgoing way. They should wage a vigorous struggle to stamp out any sort of alien ideology and decadent lifestyle which may undermine our system and thus resolutely smash the enemy’s schemes for ideological and cultural infiltration.
In order to make the flames of a leap forward flare up on all fronts of building a thriving socialist country, it is crucial to give fullest play to the mental strength of the masses.
The greatest potential for creation and innovation, the fundamental key to miraculous change, lies in giving play to the mental strength of all the service personnel and people. A sweeping ideological campaign for information and motivational purposes should be undertaken to give free rein to the mental strength of Party members and other working people. All of them should make Kim Jong Il’s patriotism part of their mental qualities and apply it in practice, and thus become performers of heroic feats in the worthwhile struggle to build theirs into a socialist country, powerful and civilized.
It is necessary to establish stringent revolutionary discipline and order in all domains of the revolutionary struggle and construction work.
This is an important factor in demonstrating the advantages of collectivism of our society and making a success of all undertakings. All sectors and all units should carry out to the letter the policies of the Party and the laws, decisions and directives of the state, and encourage the officials and working people alike to observe laws, regulations and order with full awareness of being masters of our society and citizens of the DPRK.
Officials should make redoubled efforts to fulfil their duty as leading members of the revolution and faithful servants of the people.
They should organize undertakings in a big way with absolute loyalty to the Party, a high sense of responsibility for their work and fervent zeal, and strive with unflinching perseverance to implement the Party’s plans and intentions without fail.
They should regard the people’s demands and interests as the absolute criteria for their performance, concern themselves only about doing things as wished by them and to their liking, and do anything in a way beneficial to them. They should be deeply sincere to people’s demands and opinions, and live and work as their true servants who devote themselves to their interests at all times.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the date when President Kim Il Sung wrote his last signature on a historic document concerning the country’s reunification.
True to the behests of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il, we should make fresh headway in the national reunification movement for this year.
To resolve the reunification issue in keeping with the aspirations and desires of our fellow countrymen, we should reject foreign forces and hold fast to the standpoint of By Our Nation Itself.
The driving force for national reunification is all the members of the Korean nation in the north, in the south and abroad; only when we remain steadfast in this standpoint can we reunify the country independently in line with our nation’s interests and demands. To go on a tour around foreign countries touting for “international cooperation” in resolving the inter-Korean relations issue, the one related with our nation, is a humiliating treachery of leaving its destiny in the hands of outside forces. The north and the south should uphold the principle of independence which is one of the three principles for national reunification and has been confirmed in the north-south joint declarations, hold fast to the standpoint of By Our Nation Itself, and respect and implement the declarations with sincerity.
We should make positive efforts to defend national security and peace.
The US and south Korean war maniacs have deployed legions of equipment for a nuclear war in and around the Korean peninsula and are going frantic in their military exercises for a nuclear war against the north; this precipitates a critical situation where any accidental military skirmish may lead to an all-out war. Should another war break out on this land, it will result in a deadly nuclear catastrophe and the United States will never be safe. All the Korean people must not tolerate the manoeuvres for war and confrontation by the bellicose forces at home and abroad but stoutly resist and frustrate them.
A favourable climate should be established for improved relations between the north and the south.
It is heartrending to see our nation partitioned by foreign forces, and it is more intolerable to see one side slinging mud at and showing hostility to the other. This will serve merely as an occasion for the forces who are undesirous of seeing one Korea to fish in troubled waters. It is high time to put an end to such slander and calumny that bring no good to both sides, and they should desist from doing anything detrimental to national unity and reconciliation. The south Korean authorities should discontinue the reckless confrontation with their compatriots and the racket against the “followers of the north,” and choose to promote inter-Korean relations in response to the call of the nation for independence, democracy and national reunification. We will join hands with anyone who opts to give priority to the nation and wishes for its reunification, regardless of his or her past, and continue to strive for better inter-Korean relations.
All the Korean people in the north, in the south and abroad should achieve solid unity under the truly patriotic banner, the principle of By Our Nation Itself, and turn out in the nationwide struggle for the reunification of the country. By doing so, they should open up a new phase for independent reunification, peace and prosperity this year.
Last year, in the international arena, the imperialists persisted in interference and war moves threatening the independence of other sovereign states and the right of mankind to existence.
Especially the Korean peninsula, the hottest spot in the world, was in a hair-trigger situation due to the hostile forces’ manoeuvres for a nuclear war against the DPRK, which posed a serious threat to peace and security in the region and the rest of the world.
Nothing is more precious for our people than peace, but it is not something that can be achieved if we simply crave and beg for it. We can never just sit back with folded arms and see the dark clouds of a nuclear war against us hovering over the Korean peninsula. We will defend our country’s sovereignty, peace and dignity by relying on our powerful self-defensive strength.
Holding fast to the ideals of our foreign policy — independence, peace and friendship — our Party and the government of the DPRK will, in the future, too, strive to expand and develop relations of friendship and cooperation with all the countries that respect our sovereignty and are friendly to us, and safeguard global peace and security and promote common prosperity of mankind.
The tasks facing us are gigantic and difficulties stand in our way.
However, our revolutionary cause is sure to emerge victorious as we advance under the great banner of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.
Let all of us strive for greater victory in the new year, filled with high ambition and unwavering confidence and firmly united behind the Party with a single heart. -0-

9 Comments

  1. May I comment, in order of import:

    1. Rutger Hauer, the great philosopher, was also a great swordsman in “Blind Fury.”

    2.If past New Year’s speeches are any guide, North Korea will threaten and provoke again this year. In his first new year’s speech in 2013, Kim III spoke of ending “confrontation” with the South.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/01/us-korea-north-idUSBRE90001S20130101

    3. Kim ducked under a joint editorial in 2012, but the mere mention of the following triggered optimistic prognostications of peace in Kim’s time:
    “This year marks the fifth anniversary of the publication of the October 4 Declaration, the action programme of the June 15 Joint Declaration.”

    4. All this does not mean, however, that North Korea is a congenital liar. See, for example, its statements in February 2010, one month before blowing up the Cheonan: i. “Those who talk about an economic reward in return for the dismantlement of nuclear weapons would be well advised to awake from their daydream.” ii. “Only fools will entertain the delusion that we will trade our nuclear deterrent for petty economic aid.”

    5. Hence, a variation on your profound theorem that “vagueness times mendacity divided by selection bias times preconception plus confirmation bias equals garbage” may well reach the same conclusion: “clarity times utter sincerity divided by selection bias times preconception plus confirmation bias equals garbage,” as in peace for our time.




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  2. What did you think of New Focus International’s analysis of the New Year speech? The abridged version is at http://newfocusintl.com/north-korea-really-saying-new-year-speech/, and the full version is at http://www.beaconreader.com/new-focus/what-north-korea-is-really-saying-in-its-new-year-speech. The latter does require a small payment, but I think that NFI deserves funding. I have really liked NFI’s reporting and analysis over the past year and pay more attention to their propaganda analysis than the analysis of other sources. Analyzing any one speech is fraught with uncertainty, but I think that NFI’s analysis is worth reading. Their staff and track record also make it a worthy source, similar to DailyNK.

    I also want to say that I’m a long-time reader, going back to Korea Liberator days, but this is my first time commenting. I thank you for your astute, tireless analysis and commentary over the years and look forward to your writings this year.




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  3. The same handicaps apply to any analysis of the speech, although I suspect that NF has staff who are more familiar with reading between the lines of NK propaganda, and who probably see these things through clearer eyes than many Americans, South Koreans, and Europeans. I’m more inclined to share NF’s view of this particular speech than Bob Carlin’s, but even a sincere intention by Kim Jong Un probably has a short half-life, and I can almost guarantee that there will be major developments within the next six months that will change everything. This isn’t insider knowledge. It’s just experience.

    Overall, I’m a big fan of New Focus, appreciate their work, and encourage people to contribute to them.

    Thanks for your comment, and for reading.




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  4. Thanks Joshua for your kind comments re: NFI!

    Absolutely agree with this: “but even a sincere intention by Kim Jong Un probably has a short half-life, and I can almost guarantee that there will be major developments within the next six months that will change everything.”

    I think therefore the key, as we tried to say in the introduction to the NFI analysis, is that this is not “what will happen in North Korea this year” but “what North Korea right now wants to plan for the year ahead”.

    And in terms of that, at the risk of tooting horns, no one (outside of North Korea) knows better the correlation between presentation and intentions than the man who used to orchestrate the nexus between internal policy planning and external presentation.




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