North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has wrapped up his tenth year in office with a speech that focused more on tractor and school uniforms than on nuclear weapons or the United States, according to state media briefs on Saturday.
North Korea’s main goals for 2022 will be the beginning of economic development and improving the lives of people as it faces “the great struggle for life and death,” Kim said in a speech on Friday at the end of the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee. of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), which began on Monday.
The rallies are aimed at celebrating 10 years since Kim successfully took over the country’s leadership after the death of her father in 2011.
Kim used previous New Year’s talks to make major policy announcements, including the launch of important talks with South Korea and the United States.
But summaries of his speech published in the North Korean media did not specifically address the United States, and refer only to unspecified discussions on relations between the Koreans and “foreign affairs.”
The domestic focus of the speech underscores Kim’s economic problems at home, where the closure of the anti-epidemic border has left North Korea more divided than ever, with international aid agencies warning of possible food shortages and humanitarian crises.
“The major task facing our Group and the people next year is to provide a sure guarantee for the implementation of the five-year plan and to bring about significant change in state development and the quality of life of the people,” Kim was quoted as saying.
Kim spent most of her talk on home affairs ranging from a passionate program to rural development to human nutrition, school uniforms and the need to combat “unrelated social practices.”
A major focus on rural development may be the strategy of many people, says Chad O’Carroll, founder of NK News, a Seoul-based website that tracks North Korea.
“All in all, it is possible that Kim is aware that unveiling complex military development programs while people are starving and in dire straits outside of Pyongyang may not be a good idea this year,” he wrote on Twitter.
A state media report on Saturday cited the development of the “modern weapons program after another” as a major achievement of the past year and said Kim had called for stronger national security to tackle international instability.
The tractor industry he spoke of in the speech may have been used to build missiles, say foreign analysts, and North Korea is believed to have expanded its arms embargoes.
Reports from Kim’s speech did not state that the United States was seeking negotiations for denuclearization, or for South Korea’s pressure to announce the official end of the 1950-1953 Korean War as a way to renew those negotiations.
North Korea has previously said it is open to negotiations, but that the US outbreak appears to be in vain while “hostile acts” such as military training and sanctions continue.