There’s undoubtedly a surfeit of New Year speeches this year. Because there was a time when we could anticipate a Christmas speech from the Queen, a Christmas message from the Pope and then a New Year speech from a Head of State or two. Now it seems that everyone’s at it. Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers, Leaders of the Opposition and local Parliament leaders. The New Year speech has really taken off. Yet this year, 2020, we have another surprise. That’s because the New Year speech of Kim Jong-un appears to be postponed or cancelled. Of course it’s been widely trailed by just about every media outlet well in advance. But it’ not happening, as the Supreme Leader has swapped his New Year speech for a prepared text.
And what a prepared text it is, more than 4,000 words and titled, “Report on the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers“. Now doesn’t that make you feel good to be alive. Still, it all goes to emphasise the sheer unpredictability of both country and Leader. So, it does seem that he’s going to be quiet this New Year, not dissimilar to his speechless dictator father, Kim Jong-il.
So, the speech at New Year has taken off. But is it any better for it? That’s the big question. Particularly when you consider that most of these speeches aren’t actually given as a speech at all. Posted on websites, social media, or released through PRNewswire they are pretty devoid of the human emotion that they seek to inspire with their message. They are anodyne at best.
That’s the case with most of them. One stands out, of course. Since it stands out for all the wrong reasons. Of course it’s the televised New Year speech of North Korea’s despotic leader Kim Jong-un.
We’ve considered his new year’s speeches before. Yes, he has revived a tradition of New Year speeches in his country since the first Kim Jong-un speech in 2012. But, not much has changed during the last year. His speech still called for better ties with South Korea.
Only, we believe, that was something his Uncle, Jang Song Thaek, wanted to improve. His reward? Execution. And the execution of his uncle and other family members took up a chunk of this 4,000 word, 25-minute speech. Indeed the family members were described as:
Marvellous. How many other world leaders would describe their family members in such loving terms? There again, how many world leaders would polish off said family members in such a fashion? Beyond noting their demise in some very descriptive language Kim Jong-un also took time to note the real prospect of nuclear catastrophe. As you do with a New Year speech.
So, that was just about it. He covered all the usual themes in this speech to celebrate the new year: factionalism, re-unification and nuclear catastrophe. Quite a prospect for another new year on the Korean peninsula.
Happy New Year.
You can always discover other themes for your New Year Leadership Speech with top tips from Time to Market.
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