Kim sends ‘heartfelt’ New Year’s letter to North Korean people

Seoul, Jan 1 (efe-epa).- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a letter to the citizens of the hermetic Asian country, wishing them happiness and good health in the New Year, state media reported on Friday.

The letters replaced his traditional New Year’s speech and come on the eve of an important party congress.

“I extend my heartfelt greetings to all the people. I sincerely wish all the families across the country greater happiness and beloved people, good health,” Kim said in the handwritten letter that was published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“In the new year, too, I will work hard to bring earlier the new era in which the ideals and desires of our people will come true,” he added, while thanking the people “for having invariably trusted and supported our Party even in the difficult times.”

Almost every year since he came to power at the end of 2011, Kim has given a televised New Year’s speech that gave observers a rare opportunity to look for clues about the regime’s plans surrounding its nuclear program.

It is not clear why Kim has chosen not to deliver a speech this year, although many experts point to the poor economic situation in the country after suffering several natural disasters and the ravages of the pandemic, as well as the imminent congress of the ruling party.

At that meeting, where a new five-year economic plan will be presented, the leader is also expected to give a speech that will provide clues about the direction that the regime will take this year.

After the impasse in the negotiations on denuclearization between Kim Jong-un and United States president Donald Trump, Pyongyang has yet to comment on Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential elections.

At the party congress, many experts expect the regime to defend the need to hold on to its nuclear assets and even begin weapons testing from February, after Biden’s inauguration, to try to force a return to the negotiating table.

The regime has not yet specified the date for the start of the Workers’ Party congress, although it is believed that it could start this coming weekend, amid state media reports that delegates are already gathering in Pyongyang. EFE-EPA

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