1 Jan 2013

North Korean leader delivers rare New Year message

9:39 pm on 1 January 2013

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has delivered the nation's first New Year's message on state media for 19 years.

Kim Jong-un, in power since 2011, spoke of the need to improve the economy and also to reunify the Koreas, warning that confrontation only led to war.

Kim Jong-un said 2013 would be a year of creations and changes.

He said confrontation between the North and the South should be removed and previous inter-Korean joint declarations on reducing tensions should be followed through.

The BBC reports the speech came less than a month after the conservative Park Geun-hye was elected president of South Korea.

It coincides with UN Security Council discussions on how to punish Pyongyang for its recent long range rocket launch.

In 1994, Mr Kim's grandfather, Kim Il-sung, spoke on radio and TV. His son, Kim Jong-il rarely spoke in public.

In addition to Mr Kim's televised address, New Year's messages were issued in the form of a joint editorial by North Korea's three main newspapers.