A determination to further consolidate the country’s self-defensive capabiities, to continue building socialism and to better serve the people were three key themes in the traditional new year address of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), delivered on 1 January by the chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Comrade Kim Jong Un.
Early on in his speech, Comrade Kim noted that salient features of 2016 had been the holding of the WPK’s seventh congress and the fact that “last year … our country achieved the status of a nuclear power … which no enemy, however formidable, would dare to provoke”.
He continued: “We conducted the first H-bomb test … successfully to cope with the imperialists’ nuclear war threats, which were growing more wicked day by day, briskly developed state-of-the-art military hardware, and entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) … This provided a powerful military guarantee for defending the destiny of the country and nation and advancing the cause of building a powerful socialist country … The successes achieved in the sector of national defence instilled a great national dignity and courage in our people, drove the imperialists and other reactionary forces into an ignominious defeat, and raised the strategic position of our country.”
Alongside this, the working class and other sections of the working people had scored major achievements in campaigns of 70 and 200 days aimed at boosting socialist construction inspired by the party’s congress.
Among the achievements: “Our resourceful, talented scientists and technicians, following the successful launch of the earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong 4, succeeded in the static firing test of a new type of high-thrust motor on the launch vehicle for a geo-stationary satellite. By doing so, they have opened up a broad avenue to the exploration of outer space.”
Meanwhile, the country’s scientists “bred high-yielding strains with a view to ramping up agricultural production and achieved other scientific and technological breakthroughs. All this will be of great significance in developing the country’s economy and improving the people’s livelihood. The electric-power, coalmining, metallurgical, chemical and building materials industries, rail transport and other major sectors of the national economy attained their respective production and transport goals, thereby demonstrating the potential of our self-supporting economy and giving a powerful impetus to the building of a socialist economic giant.”
Highlighting that it was the people’s unity and determination that had led to these achievements, Comrade Kim Jong Un stressed: “The successes we achieved in all the sectors of the revolution and construction last year are by no means attributable to any good conditions, nor are they a fortuitous result of any divine power … Even though the enemy grew more blatant in their obstructive schemes and severe difficulties cropped up one after another, all the service personnel and people drew themselves closer together around the party and waged a vigorous struggle in the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and fortitude. This was how they achieved these successes under such trying circumstances.”
Noting that the seventh party congress had once again put forward a programme for the country’s reunification, the WPK’s chairman regretted: “However, the south Korean authorities turned a deaf ear to our patriotic appeal and ignored our sincere proposal. Instead, they clung to their ‘sanctions-and-pressure’ schemes against the DPRK and persisted in clamouring for a war against it, thus driving inter-Korean relations towards the worst catastrophe.”
He continued: “Last year, south Korea witnessed a massive anti-government struggle spreading far and wide to shake the reactionary ruling machinery to its foundations. This resistance, involving all south Korean people, which left an indelible mark in the history of their struggle, was an outburst of pent-up grudge and indignation against the conservative regime that had been resorting to fascist dictatorship, anti-popular policy, sycophantic and traitorous acts and confrontation with their compatriots.” (See South Korea: Right-wing president impeached, Lalkar, January 2017 for background.)
In the face of this situation, Comrade Kim Jong Un said: “Positive measures should be taken to improve inter-Korean relations, avoid acute military confrontation and remove the danger of war between north and south.
“The improvement of inter-Korean relations is the starting-point for peace and reunification, and it is a pressing demand of the whole nation. Any politician who remains a passive onlooker to the current deadlock between the two sides, can neither claim to be fully discharging his or her responsibility and role for the nation nor enjoy public support. Abuse and slander aimed at offending the other party and inciting confrontation cannot be justified on any account, and an immediate stop should be put to the malicious smear campaign and other acts of hostility towards the DPRK, all designed for the overthrow of its system.”
As Comrade Kim made clear, standing behind the reactionary stance of the south Korean authorities is US imperialism and he noted:
“We must put an end to the moves for aggression and intervention by foreign forces, including the United States, which is occupying south Korea and trying to realise its strategy for achieving hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region …
“Well aware of the will of the Korean nation to reunify their country, the United States must no longer cling to the scheme of whipping up national estrangement by inciting the anti-reunification forces in south Korea to confrontation with the fellow countrymen and war. It must make a courageous decision to roll back its anachronistic policy hostile towards the DPRK.
“The international community that values independence and justice should oppose the moves of the United States and its vassal forces aimed at wrecking peace on the Korean peninsula and checking its reunification, and neighbouring countries should act in favour of our nation’s aspiration and efforts for reunification …
“We will continue to build up our self-defence capability, the pivot of which is the nuclear forces and the capability for a pre-emptive strike, as long as the United States and its vassal forces keep up their nuclear threat and blackmail and as long as they do not stop the war games that they stage at our doorstep, disguising them as annual events. We will defend the peace and the security of our state at all costs and by our own efforts, and make a positive contribution to safeguarding global peace and stability.
“Our party and the government of our republic remain committed to the ideals of our foreign policy of independence, peace and friendship, expanding and developing the relations of good-neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation with those countries championing independence, and making concerted efforts with them to ensure genuine international justice.”
In the concluding part of his address, Comrade Kim Jong Un addressed the Korean people and working class in personal terms that mark him out as a genuine revolutionary leader and fighter dedicated to serving the people: “As I am standing here to proclaim the beginning of another year, I feel a surge of anxiety about what I should do to hold our people in greater reverence …
“My desires were burning all the time, but I spent the past year feeling anxious and remorseful for the lack of my ability. I am hardening my resolve to seek more tasks for the sake of the people this year and to make redoubled, devoted efforts to this end.
“Previously, all the people used to sing the song We Are the Happiest in the World, feeling optimistic about the future with confidence in the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. I will work with devotion to ensure that the past era does not remain as a moment in history, but is recreated in the present era. On this first morning of the new year, I swear to become a true servant loyal to our people, who faithfully supports them with a pure conscience.
“And I will push the effort to set up across the party a revolutionary climate of making selfless, devoted efforts for the good of the people.”
Comrade Kim Jong Un concluded his address with this rallying call: “Let us all march forward dynamically towards a bright future, holding up the splendid blueprint unfolded by the seventh congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea to develop ours into a powerful socialist country.”
The CPGB-ML expresses its firm solidarity with Comrade Kim Jong Un, the Korean people and the Workers’ Party of Korea in their struggle to resist imperialist aggression and war, realise national reunification and build a modern, powerful and prosperous socialist country.