Kim Jong Un stresses economy not war
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for improving the economy and living standards of his impoverished nation with the same urgency that scientists showed in successfully testing a long-range rocket recently.
Kim's first New Year's speech, delivered on state TV, was peppered with rhetoric, with calls for boosting the military's capabilities and making the science and technology sector world class. But other passages in the speech were also an acknowledgement of the poor state of the country's economy that has long lagged behind the rest of the region.
North Korea has little arable land, is prone to natural disasters and struggles to grow enough food for its 24 million people.
The annual New Year's Day message lays out North Korea's policy goals for the year. But Kim gave no indication whether he plans to introduce economic reforms or allow free enterprise, except to say the economy should be underpinned by science and technology.
"The industrial revolution in the new century is, in essence, a scientific and technological revolution, and breaking through the cutting edge is a shortcut to the building of an economic giant," he said.