close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
AFP
January 2, 2021

Kim thanks N Koreans for support ‘in difficult times’

World

AFP
January 2, 2021

SEOUL: Kim Jong Un thanked North Koreans for supporting his leadership in "difficult times" in a rare hand-written New Year letter released on Friday ahead of a crucial ruling party congress that will set the country’s economic goals.

The personal message came after the isolated North put on a performance featuring fireworks, singing and dancing in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square to usher in the new year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, which the North insists has yet to reach its shores. Kim usually delivers a televised speech on January 1 that is scrutinised by Korea-watchers for signs of where the reclusive state is headed in the new year.

But he skipped the occasion last year, replacing it with an address he had delivered at a party meeting the previous year. State media have said the event will be held in early January but have yet to specify the exact dates.

"I sincerely wish all the families across the country greater happiness and beloved people, good health," Kim said in the letter carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. "In the new year, too, I will work hard to bring earlier the new era in which the ideals and desires of our people will come true.

"I offer thanks to the people for having invariably trusted and supported our Party even in the difficult times," he added, apparently referring to economic hardship brought by international sanctions and strict anti-coronavirus measures.

South Korean media said it was the first time since 1995 that a North Korean leader has sent a New Year card to the country’s citizens, the last one coming from Kim’s father Kim Jong Il.

Kim also visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun mausoleum on the outskirts of Pyongyang at midnight, according to KCNA, to pay his respects to his grandfather and father -- North Korean founder Kim Il Sung and his successor Kim Jong Il.

The congress, which is expected to set out a new economic and political plan, will be the first such meeting in five years, and only the eighth in North Korea’s history.