Kim Jong-un breaks down in tears in unprecedented show of fragility in national address

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Speaking at the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling party, Kim removed his glasses and wiped away a tear as he spoke. The so-called ‘supreme leader’ said: “Our people have placed trust, as high as the sky and as deep as the sea, in me, but I have failed to always live up to it satisfactorily. I am really sorry for that.”

The leader then spoke of his grandfather and father who were North Korea’s previous two leaders.

He said: “Although I am entrusted with the important responsibility to lead this country upholding the cause of the great comrades Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il thanks to the trust of all the people, my efforts and sincerity have not been sufficient enough to rid our people of the difficulties in their lives.”

The leader of the regime was less bombastic of the nation’s triumphs than in previous speeches.

The country has endured the harsh reality of a combination of three stresses this year, devastating floods that decimated agricultural areas, a loss of trade with China because of coronavirus, and sanctions imposed by the US.

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Speaking to the Korea Times, Hong Min, director of the North Korea division at the Korean Institute for National Unification said: “It is important to look at why he has come to shed tears at such an occasion.

“Underneath his message, one can sense that Kim is feeling a lot of pressure on his leadership.”

His speech was littered with words that portray insecurity.

He said the country would face “grave challenges”, “countless ordeals” and “unprecedented disasters”.


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The regime remains in a stand-off with the US who accuses it of restarting its weapons-grade uranium and plutonium enrichment.

Kim Jong-un gave a warning to the US that he would “fully mobilise” his nuclear armaments if threatened.

Despite the tears, the leader also displayed new ballistic missiles costing hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development.

The new type of ballistic missile on show is speculated to be able to reach the US mainland.

The unveiling of such a weapon is likely to increase tensions with Washington.

Speaking to the Korea Times Harry Kazianis, senior director at the National Interest said: “Despite North Korea being hammered this year by three typhoons, constant food insecurity issues, international sanctions and now threats from COVID-19, the Kim regime has shown the world once again its long-range missile program will continue to advance with each passing day.”

The analyst noted the new missile was “much bigger and clearly more powerful than anything in the DPRK’s arsenal”.

Mr Kazianis added: “While North Korea’s growing missile capabilities are surely concerning, I would argue the bigger worry is the clear lack of any coronavirus safety measures such as masks or social distancing where thousands of people congregated.

“This parade could end up being the ultimate super spreader event if just a few people were to be infected.”

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