I confess immediately that when it comes to North Korea I rely utterly on those shrewd fellows at NightWatch who kindly sent me their overnight assessment of the New Year speech given by Kim III. (There have been three Kims running the dump since WWII and to avoid confusion, well, I get confused at any rate, I will number them.) There has been a minor flurry of excitement in the MSM for two reasons. First, that Kim III actually gave a live New Year speech at all because his father, Kim II, never did. However, my 'NightHawks' tell me that the reason Kim II never spoke was because he had a high-pitched woman's voice that might actually have raised a few laughs in that miserable dump of a country! The other reason for excitement was a mention in the speech of an end to confrontation with South Korea. However, my 'NightHawks' assure me that it was almost an afterthought in the speech and was only mentioned as an adjunct to Kim's urgent encouragement to the workers to produce a badly-needed economic miracle! That is likely to have been met not by giggles but by yawns (in private, of course!) because when do political leaders ever stop encouraging workers to work more?
The bulk of the speech concentrated on real matters, or real-politik, if you like, in that Kim III has obviously cast his lot in with the Party rather than the military. The people were urged to put their confidence and their weight behind the Party which was, is and will forever be the supreme arbiter of the nation's affairs. All those hideous, emaciated, be-medalled generals with their ridiculous ex-Soviet hats which are big enough to land a helicopter on, had better watch out. Or perhaps plump little Kim III should watch his step even closer! Anyway, the 'NightHawks' sum it up thus:
The message to the outside world appears to be a plea for forbearance while domestic issues get settled. Kim's detractors do not share that view. They think that provocation and tension promote the safety and security of the North Korean state.
Sounds like 'interesting times' - and we know what their Chinese neighbours say about that!