Extracts from the speech of Comrade Kim Jong Un at the First Session of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 12 April 2019.
Geographically, Korea is sandwiched between big countries and its territory remains divided. Our Republic is conducting socialist construction as the hostile forces are resorting to more vicious schemes in trying to contain, undermine and stifle it. On the other hand, the contradictions and confrontations among great powers in their pursuit of hegemony are worsening on a regional and worldwide scale.
Given the special circumstances of our revolution and the complexity of the present world situation, our Republic should build up its own strength from the firm standpoint of independence and seek independent development to defend its sovereignty and dignity and achieve true prosperity. In the past, too, when the world socialist camp existed and the countries concerned maintained cooperative relations to varying degrees, our Republic adhered to self-determination and independence in carrying on the revolution and construction, and promoted socialist construction on the principle of self-reliance. Building socialism by its own efforts according to the revolutionary line of independence is the basic principle our Republic must invariably maintain in State building.
Whatever wind may blow and whatever challenges and difficulties may lie ahead, our Republic will, in the future, too, make no concession or compromise over the issues concerning the fundamental interests of our State and people. It will resolve everything on the strength of self-reliance and self-development, stepping up the building of a powerful socialist country in our own way and by our own efforts.
The central task facing our Republic at the present stage of the struggle to build a powerful socialist country is to solidify the material foundations of socialism by concentrating all national resources on economic construction.
Economic self-sufficiency is a material guarantee and prerequisite for building an independent State. Only by relying on independent and strong economic capability, it is possible to defend the dignity of a State and increase its political and military might on a steady basis.
The present political situation demands that our State hold higher the banner of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
Recently, the United States has grown fearful of the threats posed by our rapidly-developing nuclear armed force to the security of its mainland. At the negotiating table, it has made much ado about improved relations and peace; on the other hand, it is resorting to all conceivable schemes in trying to prolong the economic sanctions, with the aim of preventing us from following the path of our own choice and disarming us first to create conditions for realising its ambition of overthrowing our social system. Now that it is raising demands that run counter to the fundamental interests of our State, as a prerequisite for lifting the above sanctions, the confrontation between our country and the United States is bound to be drawn out and the hostile forces’ sanctions will persist. We have built socialism in the face of their constant sanctions, but we must neither become accustomed to this nor slacken the speed of advance of our revolution. To the forces who cannot thwart us by force, sanctions are a last resort. However, these are an intolerable challenge to us; we must never connive at or remain indifferent to them, but act resolutely to frustrate them. As we put an end to the prolonged nuclear threat by dint of nukes, we must frustrate the hostile forces’ sanctions on the strength of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
We have the capabilities and foundations for independent development to revitalise the national economy and raise it to the advanced international level in the shortest possible period. The foundations of our self-supporting economy that have been laid for several decades, able scientific and technical personnel, and the creative strength of the heroic people who have made self-reliance part of their mental qualities and are brimming with patriotic enthusiasm-these constitute our valuable strategic resources. By making the most of these enormous and unlimited potentialities, we must create another legendary tale of world-startling, miraculous successes and go ahead of others by making a greater leap forward.
When we adhere to the line of building an independent national economy and give full play to the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance, we can achieve remarkable development with a strength that others can neither fathom nor imagine.
At present, our historic struggle for national reunification, a long-cherished desire of the nation, has entered a new phase.
We have taken momentous measures in succession to improve inter-Korean relations and ensure peace on the Korean peninsula with a firm resolve to achieve without fail the cause of national reunification, into which the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il put their heart and soul all their life.
Last year we held three rounds of historic north-south summit meetings and talks and adopted inter-Korean declarations to bring about a dramatic turn in the relationship. They were events of great significance which turned around the grave situation that was teetering on the brink of war every moment and which heralded the start of a new journey to national reunification.
Now the entire nation ardently hopes that the historic Panmunjom Declaration and the September Pyongyang Joint Declaration will thoroughly be implemented so that the peaceful atmosphere on the Korean peninsula will continue and inter-Korean relations will improve uninterruptedly.
The south Korean conservative forces, however, are responding to the aspirations of the nation and the unanimous expectations of the international community with too perfidious words and behaviours, and are struggling to bring inter-Korean relations back to those in the period before the publication of the Panmunjom Declaration.
The United States openly forces "speed adjustment" on the south Korean authorities and tries in every way to subordinate the implementation of inter-Korean agreements to its anti-DPRK policy marked by sanctions and pressure.
As a result, a grave situation has been created for us to decide whether to ease the tension on the Korean peninsula and continuously carry on the atmosphere of inter-Korean rapprochement or to return to the past when the tension spiralled up towards a catastrophe with the danger of war looming larger.
We cannot look on with folded arms the current situation which causes serious concern over the destiny and future of the nation and peace and security in the region, but we have to take proactive measures without delay to straighten it out in line with the unanimous aspirations of all the fellow countrymen.
To this end, it is needed above all to take a proper stand and attitude with which to invariably adhere to and implement the inter-Korean declarations encapsulating the unanimous will of the nation, whatever difficulties and obstacles in the way.
I would like to make it clear once again that as I already declared, it is my firm determination to turn, together with the south Korean authorities, inter-Korean relations into a lasting and durable relationship of reconciliation and cooperation and write a new history of the nation that achieves peace and co-prosperity as desired by all the countrymen.
In order to untangle the prevailing unsavoury situation, heighten the good atmosphere for improved relations north and south created with much effort and make it bear meaningful fruit of peace and reunification, it is important to put an end to big-power worship marring the spirit of independence and to the policy of dependence on foreign forces encroaching upon the common interests of the nation, and subordinate everything to the improvement of the relations.
I think that if the south Korean authorities truly want improved relations, peace and reunification, they should come back to the original intention they had at the time of the Panmunjom summit and the September Pyongyang summit and fulfil the responsibility they have assumed before the nation through the sincere implementation of the north-south declarations.
They should not waver in their attitude as they see the tide nor pose as a meddlesome "mediator" and "facilitator" as they busy themselves with foreign trips, but be a responsible party that defends the interests of the nation speaking what they have to say squarely with the mind of their own as members of the nation.
It is our consistent assertion that it is imperative to smash the underhand schemes of the hostile anti-reunification and anti-peace forces within and without in order to sustain the atmosphere of improved inter-Korean relations.
It is needed to realise before it is too late that neither progress in inter-Korean relations nor any fruit of peace and prosperity can be expected if the hawkish forces in the south Korean military, who persist in veiled hostility as they resume the military exercises, which were agreed before to be discontinued, jointly with the United States by changing their names, continue to be allowed to make reckless moves, and unless the anachronistic arrogance and hostile policy of the United States, which is creating artificial obstacles in the way of improved relationship as it presents its arbitrary outrageous demands, are eradicated.
All the fellow countrymen in north and south and abroad should, staking the destiny and future of the nation, resolutely check and foil the moves of the United States and south Korean conservative forces that go against the historic current towards improved inter-Korean relations and peaceful reunification.
If they are truly willing to opt for the improvement of north-south relations, peace and reunification, the south Korean authorities should sympathise with our stand and will, keep pace with us and make a courageous decision to show their sincerity by practical action, not by words.
Our Party and the government of our Republic will continue to make sincere and persevering efforts to achieve the sustained development of north-south relations and peaceful reunification of the country, solemnly cherishing the aspirations and desires of the nation in the future, too.
The first-ever DPRK-US summit meeting and talks, which were held in Singapore in June last year under the world’s spotlight, were a momentous occasion that brought the hope of settlement of peace to the Korean peninsula where fire had been exchanged; and the June 12 DPRK-US Joint Statement was a historic declaration announcing to the world that the two countries which had been hostile to each other from one century into the next would write a new history of relationship, and therefore it won full support and approval of the international community aspiring to peace.
The DPRK voluntarily took crucial and significant measures including the discontinuation of nuclear test and test-fire of intercontinental ballistic missile, thereby taking the first step towards confidence-building which is the main key to the removal of bilateral hostile relations, and it also took the broadminded measure of realising the repatriation of the remains of US soldiers, which had been requested by the US President, as a show of its will to sincerely implement the June 12 DPRK-US Joint Statement which serves as a milestone in the establishment of a new bilateral relationship.
However, the second DPRK-US summit talks held in Hanoi last February raised strong questions about whether the steps we took under our strategic, courageous decision were right, and they were an occasion that gave us a sense of caution about whether the United States is genuinely interested in improving the bilateral relations.
At the talks we expressed our resolve to set the essential stages and course to be followed without fail for the implementation of the June 12 DPRK-US Joint Statement in the interests of both sides and to take more prudent and trustworthy steps, and looked forward to a positive response of the United States.
But the United States came to the negotiating table after thinking only about completely unrealisable methods.
In other words, they were unprepared to solve problems with us at the table and they had no definite orientation or methodology.
By that sort of thinking, the United States will not be able to move us one iota nor get what it wants at all, even if it sits with us a hundred times, a thousand times.
It has recently conducted a test for simulated interception of our intercontinental ballistic missile and resumed military exercises the US President committed himself to suspending, while making other hostile moves contrary to the spirit of the June 12 Joint Statement in a more undisguised way. These seriously get on our nerves.
I am very displeased with such a trend.
As waves rise when wind blows, the more pronounced the US policy hostile towards the DPRK becomes, the tougher our counteraction will become.
Although it strongly hints at the settlement of issues through dialogue as it thinks about the third round of DPRK-US summit talks, the United States still looks away from the withdrawal of its hostile policy, the basic way for establishing a new bilateral relationship; rather it mistakenly believes that if it pressures us to the maximum, it can subdue us.
We, of course, attach importance to the settlement of issues through dialogue and negotiations, but the US-style dialogue of unilaterally pushing its demands does not fit us, nor are we interested in it.
Though the United States calls for a negotiated settlement of issues, it is stirring up hostility to us day after day, which is an act that is as foolish and risky as an attempt to put out fire with oil.
Given the deep-rooted animosity between the DPRK and the United States, in order to implement the June 12 Joint Statement both sides should give up their unilateral terms and seek a constructive solution that meets each other’s interests.
To this end, it is needed above all for the United States to approach us with a new way of calculation after putting aside the current one.
The United States is talking much about holding the third round of bilateral summit talks, but we are neither pleased nor willing to see summit talks like the Hanoi summit talks re-enacted.
However, as President Trump continuously observes, personal relations between he and I are not hostile like the relationship between the two countries, and we still maintain good relations, and if we want, we can send and receive letters asking for each other’s regards any time.
If the United States proposed holding the third round of summit talks after finding out with a proper attitude a methodology that can be shared with us, we would be willing to try one more time.
But in my opinion at this moment, it comes to my mind that there is no need for me to obsess over the summit talks with the United States out of thirst for the lifting of sanctions.
Anyway, we will be patient and wait till the end of this year to see whether the United States makes a courageous decision or not, but it will obviously be hard to get a good opportunity like the last time again.
In future, I will put my signature on an agreement without hesitation only when it contains fair clauses which conform to the interests of both sides and which are acceptable to them, and this depends entirely on the stand the United States takes and the way of calculation it comes up with.
What is obvious is that if it sticks to its current political way of calculation, the prospects for problem solving will be bleak and very dangerous.
At this crucial time, I hope that the United States will make a well-advised judgment and the second hand of the clock of the DPRK-US showdown which they stopped with so much difficulty will not move again for all ages.
The government of the Republic will strengthen and develop the bonds of friendship and cooperation with all the countries of the world that respect the sovereignty of our country and are friendly to it, and will advance hand in hand with all the peace-loving forces of the world to establish a lasting and durable peace mechanism on the Korean peninsula.
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