Kim Calls for Korean Unity in Rare Public Address

North Korea gets first New Year broadcast from leader since 1994

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 1, 2013 4:53 AM CST

(Newser) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to share his father's fondness for rockets—but not his aversion to public speaking. Kim spoke to North Korea in a televised New Year's Day address, the first such broadcast in 19 years, the BBC reports. Kim Jong Il almost never addressed the public, and the last such New Year's broadcast in Pyongyang was from Kim's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, in 1994.

In the address, Kim called for a "radical turnabout" that would transform North Korea into an "economic giant." He called for unity between North and South Korea, although he referred to agreements signed years ago that new South Korean leader Park Geun Hye may be reluctant to implement, the Washington Post reports. He stressed that military power remains a top national priority. "The military might of a country represents its national strength," he said. "Only when it builds up its military might in every way can it develop into a thriving country."

In this Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 image made from video, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks on a podium in Pyongyang, North Korea.
In this Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 image made from video, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks on a podium in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (AP Photo/KRT via AP Video)
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