SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un plans to deliver his New Year’s address at 12:30 p.m., later than in previous years, Pyongyang’s state media said Friday.
Kim’s New Year’s message will be announced at noon (Pyongyang Time), the North’s Korean Central Television said without elaborating. Usually, the North’s leader delivers his message early in the morning on the first day of the new year.
It also did not clarify whether Kim will deliver a verbal message.
Since 2013, Kim has issued a verbal New Year’s message through the country’s state television and radio.
The North’s New Year’s message is closely monitored by South Korea and others as it offers clues to the North’s annual policy goals.
Earlier this week, Kim Yang-gon, the leader’s key aide who handled inter-Korean affairs, died in a car accident, which analysts said could dim outlooks for Seoul-Pyongyang ties.
The Workers’ Party of Korea, the North’s ruling party, plans to hold the first congress in more than three decades in May, when Kim may unveil new lines of policies and conduct a major reshuffle.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Thursday that Kim is likely to instruct his people to thoroughly prepare for the ruling party’s upcoming congress in his New Year’s message.