00:56 GMT16 January 2021
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    The supreme leader of North Korea usually gives a televised address to the nation every 1 January to celebrate New Year's Eve, but this year he's resorted to something that hasn't been seen for more than two decades.

    DPRK’s head Kim Jong-un has extended his “heartfelt greetings” to fellow North Koreans in a handwritten note, which was published on the front page of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper – the official paper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea – according to US-based outlet NK News.

    In the letter, which has reportedly been sent to all of the country’s 25 million people, Kim Jong-un thanks citizens for trusting and supporting the Communist Party during "difficult times.”

    “I sincerely hope that all the families of the country will be blessed with more precious happiness and reverentially wish for good health and welfare of the beloved people,” he reportedly wrote.

    “In the New Year, too, I will work hard to bring earlier the new era in which the ideals and desires of our people will come true,” Kim promised.

    People look at news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thanked his people at Mirae Scientists Street in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, Jan., 1, 2021
    © REUTERS / Jon Chol Jin
    People look at news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thanked his people at Mirae Scientists Street in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, Jan., 1, 2021
    A woman looks at news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thanked his people at Mirae Scientists Street in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, Jan., 1, 2021
    © REUTERS / Jon Chol Jin
    A woman looks at news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thanked his people at Mirae Scientists Street in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, Jan., 1, 2021

    According to Seoul's Unification Ministry, the last time a similar overarching note was distributed to ordinary citizens was in 1995 during the rule of Kim’s father Kim Jong-il.

    Kim Jong-un’s handwritten greeting comes in the absence of his annual televised speech, which is usually broadcasted on 1 January. Instead, he's widely expected to give another public address during The Workers' Party congress scheduled for early January – the first gathering of such magnitude in five years.

    Dancers perform during celebrations to mark the New Year, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, early Friday, Jan., 1, 2021
    © REUTERS / Jon Chol Jin
    Dancers perform during celebrations to mark the New Year, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, early Friday, Jan., 1, 2021
    A fireworks display decorates the night sky to celebrate the New Year, as crowds of people look on, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, early Friday, Jan., 1, 2021
    © REUTERS / Jon Chol Jin
    A fireworks display decorates the night sky to celebrate the New Year, as crowds of people look on, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, early Friday, Jan., 1, 2021

    The country’s head also marked the start of 2021 by visiting the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the tomb where the remains of his father and grandfather lie under sealed glass.

    While Kim was visiting his family’s burial place, ordinary North Koreans gathered in Pyongyang's main square to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a concert, firework display, and a flag waving ceremony.

    Tags:
    New Year, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, South Korea, North Korea
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