Kim Jong-un blames South Korea for mistrust in his speech

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year speech causes new tension with rival South Korea

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends the 3rd Meeting of Activists in Fisheries under the Korean People's Army

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un blamed South Korea on Friday for mistrust in a New Year's speech which came after a year of heightened tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul.

It was Kim's fourth realized speech since becoming a leader in 2011 after his father's, former President Kim Jong-il, death.

"South Korea has made a unilateral case for unification and increased mistrust and conflict between us," Kim Jong-un said on a North Korean TV channel, with stressed its suspicion of the South's unification policies.

"The Workers Party of Korea gives top priority to the issue of improving people's living standards among millions of other national tasks," he added.

"We must create a turnaround in economic development."

The tension between two countries still continued to increase after two South Korean soldiers were killed on the border on last August. After the incident, both countries' leaders blamed each other.

The North Korean leader had said in last year’s speech that he would be open to any possible summit with South Korea.

Although both sides agreed to reduce tensions and tried to hold talks at vice-ministerial level, all negotiation efforts have been fruitless.

"We should cherish last year's high-level talks and make continued efforts to seek dialogue and not take any further steps backwards," Kim Jong-un said regarding the negotiations, adding that he would be open to talks with anyone to discuss "peaceful unification." 

According to Yonhap News Agency, South Korean Foreign Ministry reiterated its position in a response to Kim Jong-un’s speech to hold open to talks with the North.

"North Korea should take note that we are seeking to develop inter-Korean relations and lay the groundwork for peaceful unification," an unidentified government official said.

South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia have undergone numerous sessions of negotiations aimed at ending the North's nuclear programme, but it has been stalled since 2009.

TRTWorld and agencies