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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivered a New Year’s message and it was televised on Jan. 1 — in stark contrast with his father Kim Jong Il, who rarely spoke in public. The points of his 24-minute message, which was also issued as a joint editorial by North Korea’s three main newspapers, were economic reconstruction of his country and improvement of the relations between Pyongyang and Seoul.

But he also made it clear that building military might remained a national priority. As long as Pyongyang sticks to its “military first” policy, it will be difficult to raise the living standards of the North Korean people and improve relations with South Korea.

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