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North Korean leader's conciliatory New Year's address fails to impress in Seoul Updated: 2014-01-02 21:48:00 KST

 North Korean leader's conciliatory New Year's address fails to impress in Seoul
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivered a rather conciliatory message towards South Korea on Wednesday.

"We must create an atmosphere for improving ties between the two Koreas. I will work with anyone who values our people and seeks reunification to improve relations."

Seoul's defense ministry has said it expects more provocative acts from Pyongyang targeting South Korea some time around March of this year, following the execution of Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong-un's uncle who was once the North's second most powerful man.
Despite the unexpectedly friendly tone of his speech, however, most experts echoed the government's view.

"The conciliatory message is not worthy of special attention. North Korea has sent friendly messages in the past before carrying out provocations. I think the New Year's address implies Kim Jong-un's hope for stability, rather than for sincere reconciliation with South Korea."

The North Korean leader also mentioned the execution of Jang Song-thaek, although not by name.
Referring to his uncle as "factionalist filth," he said that removing him has strengthened the ruling Workers' Party.
Pundits say mentioning the execution in detail in the New Year's message is a rare move and reflects his still nascent leadership.
But they say what really needs to be noted is that Kim put greater emphasis on Pyongyang's ideology education which calls for blind loyalty to the regime than before.

"This shows that Kim Jong-un's leadership has not reached a stable stage yet. The New Year's address, in general, contains no special messages nor dramatic changes in North Korea's policies."

The experts also note that almost half of Kim Jong-un's 12-page New Year's address conveyed his desire to improve the state's economy.
The leader stressed the importance of agriculture and new construction to enhance the standard of living of the North Korean people.
Han Da-eun, Arirang News.
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