New North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave his first public speech Sunday, emphasizing military strength as a continued priority for the North and unveiling a new rocket, according to the Associated Press.
The twenty-minute speech was the best glimpse North Korea and the rest of the world has had of Kim since he assumed power after his father's death in December. He addressed assembled Koreans and a military parade on the 100th birthday of Kim Il-sung, Kim's grandfather and founding North Korean president.
"Superiority in military technology is no longer monopolized by imperialists, and the era of enemies using atomic bombs to threaten and blackmail us is forever over," Kim said.
Kim reinforced the country's pursuit of military strength, pledging to continue his father's long-standing conflict with the United States and its allies. Kim also unveiled a new long-range rocket during the address, although it is unclear whether the rocket was real or a mock-up. North Korea has been struggling to save face after a costly and embarrassing launch on Friday, when a similar rocket broke apart in flight.
The North Korean state media and other analysts have noted strong similarities between Kim and his late grandfather, citing their similar demeanor and gregariousness.
"Kim Jong-il inspired awe and dread among his people and was never a leader friendly with the public," Cheong Seong-chang, a South Korean researcher told the New York Times. "Like his grandfather, however, Kim Jong-un has so far tried to look more willing to communicate with his people. We may see him speak in public more often."