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N.K. continues peace offensive toward S. Korea after its leader's message

All News 16:57 January 05, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has been continuing its peace offensive toward South Korea by mobilizing state-run news outlets every day since its leader Kim Jong-un stressed the need to improve inter-Korean relations in his New Year's message.

In his televised speech on Sunday, Kim called on Seoul to join efforts to work out measures to improve strained ties and resolve the danger of military conflict and war between the two Koreas, while referencing the previous July 4 and Oct. 4 inter-Korean agreements. At the same time, however, he asserted that the North is in the final stages of preparing to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), showing no signs of abandoning his country's nuclear program.

On the message, Seoul's Unification Ministry responded that the North's denuclearization should come first if the two Koreas are to hold meaningful dialogue.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers his New Year's address in this photo captured from North Korea's Central TV Broadcasting Station on Jan. 1, 2017. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

"To prevent the danger of military conflict and protect peace on the Korean Peninsula are vital issues related to the destiny of the Korean people and future course of inter-Korean ties," the Rodong Sinmun, a daily of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a story carried in its Thursday edition.

Seoul should not blindly take issue with the North's self-defense measures, and respond to its sincere efforts to mitigate inter-Korean tension, the paper said.

"To improve inter-Korean relations is a question of death or life that is connected to the people's destiny," the paper also said in an article in its Wednesday edition, whose title was "The Improvement of Inter-Korean Relations is a Starting Point for Peace and Reunification."

The Korean Central News Agency and Internet propaganda outlet "Maeari" also published similar stories in recent days.

"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) stance to keep peace on the Korean Peninsula is unchanging," Maeari said on Monday.

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