North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Blames South Korea for Increased Mistrust in New Year’s Speech

John Kim, Jan. 1, 2016, 10:08 a.m.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un blamed South Korea on Friday for increased mistrust in a New Year’s speech after a year of heightened tension between the rival countries. He was ready for war if provoked by “invasive” outsiders, but he stayed away from past threats involving the country’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile ambitions. His comments stuck to well-worn propaganda meant to lift his image for the elite residents of one of the world’s poorest, most closed countries, and could be read as an attempt to keep ties with rivals Washington and Seoul from getting worse so he can try to turn around a bad economy and further solidify his leadership

While largely repeating the daily propaganda in state-controlled media, Kim’s words will be pored over by analysts for hints about the country’s intentions for the coming year. There is little public information about the inner workings and policy goals of North Korea’s government, which considers democratic South Korea and its ally the United States its enemies and is pursuing a long-range missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland.

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