Kim Jong Un’s traditional New Year speech summing up the experience of the previous year and setting out tasks for the year to come was made this year at the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on 1 January 2020.
Here follow extracts from his speech:
Praise for achievements
He said that the challenges that have faced us in the past several months have been so harsh and dangerous that others would not withstand even a single day but yield to them, but no difficulties could ever stop or delay the rush of our people advancing undauntedly as a solid integral whole, and they have achieved great successes ceaselessly in bolstering up the strength of the state and in increasing its defence capabilities.
The colossal and complicated work of developing the state-of-the-art weapons system possessed only by advanced countries in defence science and technology presupposed our own finding of innovative solutions in terms of the scientific and technological aspects without anyone’s help, and all the research tasks were perfectly carried out by our own driving force, i.e. our reliable scientists, designers and workers in the munitions industry.
This means a great victory, and our possession of promising strategic weapons system planned by the Party one after another constitutes a great event in developing the armed forces of the Republic and in defending and guaranteeing our sovereignty and right to existence.
In the future, the more the US stalls for time and hesitates in the settlement of the DPRK-US relations, the more helpless it will find itself before the might of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is growing stronger beyond prediction, and the deeper it will fall into an impasse.
Kim Jong Un referred to a series of successes achieved in economic construction:
This year we reaped an unprecedented bumper harvest that exceeded the peak-year level even under many restrictions created by the heinous sanctions imposed by the hostile forces and continued unfavourable weather conditions; we implemented the second-stage project for sprucing up the city of Samjiyon, building it into an excellent model of mountainous cultured town, an ideal archetype of local town, in the centre of education in revolutionary traditions, and completed the construction of the Jungphyong Vegetable Greenhouse Farm, tree nursery and Yangdok Hot Spring Resort true to the Party’s intention, thus presenting the creations of advanced civilisation to our people.
Construction of the Wonsan Kalma coast resort, Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory, Orangchon Power Station, Tanchon Power Station and other projects, which are simultaneously under construction in several parts of the country, is being pushed ahead under meticulous planning, and almost all the sectors of the national economy, including metal, coal-mining, building materials and light industry, are showing a trend of remarkable growth.
Praising that Kangwon Province, having appealed an emulation drive of self-reliance to the whole country, created one model experience after another in carrying out Party policy and that North Phyongan and other provinces are competitively achieving marked results in developing agriculture, stockbreeding, education, public health and local industry,
The need to stand firm in the face of US imperialist bullying
Analysing the trend of the prevailing situation, he said that the real intention of the US is to seek its own political and diplomatic interests while wasting time away under the signboard of dialogue and negotiations and at the same time keep sanctions so as to gradually reduce our strength.
He stressed that we further hardened our determination never to barter the security and dignity of our state and the safety of its future for anything else.
Noting that the stalemate between the DPRK and the US cannot but assume a protracted nature as the US is raising demands contrary to the fundamental interests of our state and maintaining a brigandish attitude, he said that recently the US has been talking about continued dialogue while peddling the issue of the resumption of dialogue here and there, which is just aimed at passing easily the year-end time-limit set by us and gaining time. It now has found itself in a tight corner, without intention from the beginning to withdraw its hostile policy toward the DPRK, improve relations and resolve the problems. On the other hand, the US has openly revealed its provocative political, military and economic manoeuvres to completely stifle and crush our Republic, and this is the double-dealing behaviour of the brigandish US, he added.
He said that we will never allow the impudent US to abuse the DPRK-US dialogue for meeting its dishonest aims but will shift to shocking actual actions to make it fully pay for the pains sustained by our people so far and for the development so far restrained.
It is true that we urgently need external environment favourable for our economic construction, but we can never sell our dignity which we have so far defended as valuable as our own life, in the hope of gorgeous transformation.
The DPRK-US stand-off which has lasted from one century into the next has now boiled down to a clear stand-off between self-reliance and sanctions.
If there were not the nuclear issue, the US would find fault with another thing we do, and its military and political threat would not cease.
The present situation that warns a protracted confrontation with the US urgently requires us to make it a fait accompli that we have to live under the sanctions by the hostile forces in the future, too, and to build up our internal strength in all aspects.
Stressing that the fierce confrontation with the enemy is always accompanied by the work of strengthening our own forces and only when priority is given to self-strengthening can we take the initiative and achieve victory, he pointed out that there are not a few problems that need to be put to rights in state management, the economic work and other fields from the viewpoint of building up our strength.
He mentioned that, although we cry out for self-reliance and self-sufficiency, our implementation of this work is not yet freed from the habit of the past, and analysed the present situation including state management and economic work which is insufficient for pulling and spurring the great cause of self-reliance and self-development and which fails to bring about a bold renovation but stays stagnant.
A great victory is accompanied by trials and struggle, and the victory of the revolution is inevitable but cannot be achieved without any difficulties and hardships, he said.
We should launch an offensive for making a breakthrough head-on aimed at neutralising the sanctions and pressure by the hostile forces and opening a new avenue for socialist construction. This offensive is a task of the times, which should be carried out without fail when viewed from both the immediate tasks and prospective demand of our revolution.
If we fail to put spurs to the struggle for bolstering our strength for self-development while waiting for the lift of sanctions, the enemies’ reactionary offensive will get fiercer and they will dare to check our advance.
He went on to call urgently for massive efforts to be made to improve productivity.
"Let Us Break Through Head-on All the Barriers to Our Advance!"- this is the fighting slogan the entire Party and all the people should uphold today.
Citing detailed instances, he pointed out the bad practices of the economic sector of shouting the slogan of self-reliance but failing to take a smart and optimum response in the present important and vital period that has faced severe difficulties and to direct efforts on maintaining and reinforcing the self-supporting foundations of the national economy. He emphasised at length how essential it was that all weaknesses should be addressed and overcome.
What needs to be done
Kim Jong Un stressed the need to improve science, education and public health.
The inexhaustible strategic assets on which we should rely today are science and technology, he said, adding that science and technology should be a beacon light that illuminates the path ahead and take the lead in the development at present when the economic work is faced with many difficulties.
He underscored the need for Party organisations to imbue scientists and technicians with the consciousness that all fronts of socialist construction could emerge victorious only when they made a breakthrough on the science front, and that the ideals and goals of building a powerful country would be achieved only by their painstaking efforts and devotion for scaling the high peak of cutting-edge science.
He said that just as science can be seen as an engine leading the economic development, education can be called the mother of science, and he specified the tasks and ways for fundamentally improving the country’s education as appropriate to the era of bringing about a radical improvement in education. They included the tasks for steadily improving the structures and teaching programmes of all universities, including Kim Il Sung University, in keeping with the developing reality and the world trend, making the contents of education practical, comprehensive and up-to-date, bringing education closer to scientific research and production, updating the educational conditions and environment and producing larger numbers of talented personnel and valuable sci-tech findings by promoting in a substantial way the work of narrowing the differences in the level of education between the central and local areas, building up the ranks of teachers in terms of quality, improving the contents and environment of education substantially with strenuous efforts, etc.
The current offensive for making a breakthrough head-on is a gigantic, patriotic struggle to be waged by the high-pitched enthusiasm and creative efforts of millions of the working people, he said, adding that if all sectors, units and citizens make efforts to increase production and practise economy to the maximum so as to create more of their own things, our economy will remain unperturbed and our living standards will be improved, however the hostile forces are hell-bent on imposing sanctions.
Noting that the models to be followed in the present era are the patriotic working people who regard the spirit of economy as part of their mental qualities, as well as the labour-, energy-, cost-, and land-saving enterprises, he advanced the tasks for launching a vigorous campaign for economical use of electricity throughout society, raising a wind of emulation drive for tapping reserves and further increasing production and practising economy in keeping with actual conditions of one’s own sectors and units, ensuring all sectors and all units make primary efforts for improving the quality of their products and creations on the principle of giving priority to quality over quantity, taking decisive measures for protecting the ecological environment in a thoroughgoing way, and establishing a well-knit nationwide crisis management system to cope with natural disasters.
Korea’s response to the external threat to its existence
He said that the US has applied the most brutal and inhuman sanctions against our state and posed a persistent nuclear threat to it over the past seven decades by labelling it as their enemy, part of the ‘axis of evil’ and a ‘target of pre-emptive nuclear strike,’ and that the current situation on the Korean peninsula has reached a more dangerous and serious phase owing to the US policy of hostility to the DPRK.
In the past two years alone when the DPRK took crucial measures first to stop nuclear test and ICBM test fire and shut down the nuclear testing ground in order to build confidence with the US, he said, the latter, far from responding to the former with appropriate measures, threatened it militarily by conducting dozens of big and small joint military drills which its president personally promised to discontinue and by shipping latest war equipment into south Korea and adopted over a dozen independent sanctions measures, only to show once again before the world that it remains unchanged in its wild ambition to stifle our system.
Under such circumstances, the DPRK has found no grounds to be unilaterally bound any longer by the commitment with no other party to honour, and this has put a damper on its efforts for disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons across the world, he said.
As we already made clear, the prevailing situation proves that the road of defending ourselves by building up our strength sufficiently enough to keep the hostile forces at bay so that they would not dare to threaten our sovereignty and security is the only path we should follow without suspension and hesitation, even if difficult, he said, clarifying the WPK’s policy towards the US.
Victory or defeat at today’s crossroads of the destiny of socialism is decided only by the strength of unity and the guiding role of our Party.
Our Party will exercise its correct leadership ability and will never waver in the face of the challenges.
It will stand firm and continue to deal heavy blows to the US and other hostile forces.
And it will always share weal and woe with our people.