CBRN Assessment

North Korean leader prioritises economy but calls for US to respond to “proactive” cessation of weapons tests

02 January 2019


On 1 January 2019, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un gave his annual New Year's Address.

The 30-minute speech focussed primarily on the economy, framing development and reforms as "socialist" and in keeping with North Korea's "Juche" ideology of self-reliance. Specifically, Kim said the country's priority was to increase electricity production, as well as output of other industries, including coal, farming, and munitions. He also reiterated North Korea's "proactive" cessation of nuclear and missile tests as contributing to progress towards peace on the peninsula, calling for the United States to respond in kind with "corresponding practical actions". Kim repeated North Korea's opposition to South Korea's joint military exercises with "foreign powers" (that is, the United States) and said that "the inflow of foreign military strategic assets into the Korean Peninsula must be stopped".

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