Every year on 1 January the leader of the DPRK issues an address summarising the achievements of the previous year and setting out the goals for the year to come. This year’s address is of particular importance, and we reproduce some of its highlights, which demonstrate the clear-sighted determination of the Korean people to safeguard their socialist system, further improve their living standards and quality of life, and work towards the reunification of their country so cruelly divided by US imperialism following the defeat of Japan in the second world war. This year’s speech by Comrade Kim Jong Un is a model of sense and sanity that stands in sharp contrast to the tub-thumping and rabid Twitter threats made on behalf of bellicose US imperialism by President Donald Trump. Extracts from Comrade Kim Jong Un’s speech Last year, the moves of the United States and its vassal forces to isolate and stifle our country went to extremes, and our revolution faced the harshest-ever challenges. In the face of the prevailing situation and the worst trials on the road of advance, our party trusted the people and the people defended the party death-defyingly, turning adversity and misfortune to good account and achieving brilliant successes on all the fronts where a powerful socialist country is being built … On this platform one year ago, I officially made public on behalf of the party and government that we had entered the final stage of preparation for the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. In the past year, we conducted several rounds of its test launch, aimed at implementing the programme safely and transparently, thus proving before the eyes of the world its definite success. By also conducting tests of various means of nuclear delivery and super-intense thermonuclear weapon, we attained our general orientation and strategic goal with success, and our republic has at last come to possess a powerful and reliable war deterrent, which no force and nothing can reverse. Our country’s nuclear forces are capable of thwarting and countering any nuclear threats from the United States, and they constitute a powerful deterrent that prevents it from starting an adventurous war … In no way would the United States dare to ignite a war against me and our country. The whole of its mainland is within the range of our nuclear strike and the nuclear button is on my office desk all the time; the United States needs to be clearly aware that this is not merely a threat but a reality … Last year, we also made notable headway in carrying out our five-year strategy for national economic development. As a result of our vigorous endeavour to establish the Juche orientation in the metallurgical industry, an oxygen-blast furnace of our own style was built at the Kim Chaek iron and steel complex to maintain regular production of pig iron by relying on anthracite, and prospects were opened up for consolidating the independent foundations of the chemical industry and attaining the five-year strategy’s goal for the output of chemical products. Advances were made at numerous light-industry factories in such sectors as textiles, footwear, knitwear and foodstuff industries … The machine-building industry, by upholding the banner of self-reliance and relying on science and technology, creditably attained the party’s goal for the production of new-type tractors and trucks … Our service personnel and people built magnificent Ryomyong Street and the large-scale livestock farming base in the Sepho area, and completed the task for the first stage of the forest restoration campaign … [Numerous ambitious targets were set for 2018, including the following:] The electric-power industry should maintain and reinforce the self-supporting power generation bases, and direct a great deal of effort to developing new power sources. A dynamic campaign should be conducted to drastically increase thermal power generation, lower the loss of electric power and increase its production as much as possible … The nuclear weapons research sector and the rocket industry should mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, the power and reliability of which have already been proved to the full, to give a spur to the efforts for deploying them for action. And we should always be ready for immediate nuclear counterattack to cope with the enemy’s manoeuvres for a nuclear war. [On the question of Korean reunification, Comrade Kim Jong Un made the following important remarks:] Last year, too, our people made strenuous efforts to defend the peace of the country and hasten national reunification, in keeping with the aspirations and demands of the nation. However, owing to the vicious sanctions and pressure by the United States and its vassal forces and their desperate manoeuvres to ignite a war, all aimed at checking the reinforcement of the self-defensive nuclear deterrent by our republic, the situation on the Korean peninsula became inflamed as never before, and greater difficulties and obstacles were put on the road of the country’s reunification. Even though the conservative ‘regime’ in south Korea, which had resorted to fascist rule and confrontation with fellow countrymen, collapsed and the ruling circle was replaced by another thanks to the massive resistance of the enraged people from all walks of life, nothing has changed in the relations between the north and the south. On the contrary, the south Korean authorities, siding with the United States in its hostile policy towards the DPRK and against the aspirations of all our fellow countrymen for national reunification, drove the situation into a tight corner, further aggravated the mistrust and confrontation between the north and the south, and brought bilateral relations to a fix that can hardly be resolved. We can never escape the holocaust of a nuclear war, pushed on us by outside forces, let alone achieve national reunification, until we put an end to this abnormal situation. The prevailing situation demands that now the north and the south improve relations between themselves and take decisive measures for achieving a breakthrough for independent reunification without being obsessed by bygone days. No one can present an honourable appearance in front of the nation if he or she ignores the urgent demands of the times. This year is significant both for the north and the south, as in the north the people will greet the 70th founding anniversary of their republic as a great, auspicious event, and in the south the Winter Olympic Games will take place. In order to not only celebrate these great national events in a splendid manner but also demonstrate the dignity and spirit of the nation at home and abroad, we should improve the frozen inter-Korean relations and glorify this meaningful year as an eventful one noteworthy in the history of the nation … The south Korean authorities should respond positively to our sincere efforts for a detente, instead of inducing the exacerbation of the situation by joining the United States in its reckless moves for a north-targeted nuclear war that threatens the destiny of the entire nation as well as peace and stability on this land. They should discontinue all the nuclear war drills they stage with outside forces, as these drills will engulf this land in flames and lead to bloodshed on our sacred territory. They should also refrain from any acts of bringing in nuclear armaments and aggressive forces from the United States. Even though the United States is wielding the nuclear stick and going wild for another war, it will not dare to invade us because we currently have a powerful nuclear deterrent. And when the north and the south are determined, they can surely prevent the outbreak of war and ease tension on the Korean peninsula … As a responsible, peace-loving nuclear power, our country will neither have recourse to nuclear weapons unless hostile forces of aggression violate its sovereignty and interests nor threaten any other country or region by means of nuclear weapons. However, it will resolutely respond to acts of wrecking peace and security on the Korean peninsula … The Workers’ Party of Korea and the government of the republic will never cease to struggle and advance until achieving the final victory of the revolutionary cause of Juche . Relying on the trust and strength of the people, we will surely hasten the development of a powerful socialist country where all the people lead a dignified and happy life. Let us all march forward dynamically towards the fresh victory of the revolution by displaying the unyielding mettle of heroic Korea under the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea. CPGB-ML comment Following this speech, south Korea’s President Moon Jae-in took advantage of the situation to reciprocate, much to the disgust of US imperialism. He agreed that the planned aggressive joint military exercises scheduled to take place at the same time as the Winter Games would be postponed, and that facilities would be put in place for north Korean athletes to take part. Subsequently it was agreed that the Koreans would march as one team under a neutral flag, and that Korea would field a united women’s ice hockey team, and that the north would also bring a large orchestra and cheerleading team to add lustre to the games. The whole nuclear issue has demonstrated to south Koreans, should they be at all inclined to take note, that US imperialism cares nothing for them, unlike the government in the north, which has pointed out that its nuclear weapons would never be used against the south, if only because to do so would spell curtains for the north as well. On the contrary, the north’s nuclear weapons are a strong deterrent against US imperialism mounting a war on the Korean peninsula that would also be bound to affect the south. US imperialist threats to mount a first strike against north Korea, on the other hand, are just as much a threat to the south (and even to Japan). “James Stavridis, former Nato supreme allied commander and now dean of the Fletcher school at Tufts university, who puts the odds of nuclear war at 10 percent, sees ‘no military options which would result in fewer than several hundred thousand casualties and perhaps as many as 2-3 million’. “Mr Mullen says Mr Trump’s team would be taking a huge gamble if it assumed Mr Kim would not respond to an attack. ‘Our intelligence is not great, so how do we know that they would not respond?’ he says. ‘If I was Japan or south Korea, I would be asking ‘What are we, chopped liver?’ The US is supposed to be protecting them.’” (Trump and north Korea: the perils of a pre-emptive strike by Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times, 9 January 2018) To add insult to injury, Trump, in pursuit of his ‘America first’ policy, has announced punitive tariffs on certain south Korean exports! It is no wonder that the number of south Koreans who wonder about the wisdom of allowing their country to be a garrison town for US imperialism’s encirclement of China is increasing. Of course, US imperialism retains a loud coterie of south Korean quislings who are threatening protests against the north Koreans participating in the Olympics in the hope of ruining the party. They have come up with the absurd claim that only old people in south Korea care about reunification – the young allegedly caring nothing for the north – hoping that they can popularise this nonsense through social media, with the help of weeping buckets for the dashed hopes of the athletes dropped from the ice hockey team to make way for north Koreans. In actual fact, these athletes have received a far greater honour, the honour of being in a position to participate in an event of far greater world historic importance than Olympic games, which have no historic significance at all. They have the honour of serving the just and much-retarded cause of the reunification of Korea.