Kim in surprise call for end to conflict between two Koreas
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for an end to confrontation between the two Koreas, technically still at war in the absence of a peace treaty to end their 1950-53 conflict, in a surprise new year broadcast on state media.
The address by Kim, who took power in the reclusive state after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011, appeared to take the place of the policy-setting new year’s editorial published annually in the past in leading state newspapers.
The new year address was the first in 19 years by a North Korean leader, following the death of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather. Kim Jong-il rarely spoke in public and disclosed his national policy agenda in editorials in state newspapers.
Kim’s statement “apparently contains a message that he has an intention to dispel the current face-off [between the two Koreas], which could eventually be linked with the north’s call for aid” from the south, said Kim Tae-woo, a North Korea expert at the state- funded Korea Institute for National Unification.
“But such a move does not necessarily mean any substantive change in the North Korean regime’s policy towards the South.”