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(LEAD) N.K. urges S. Korea to end 'confrontational' policies as Moon takes office

All Headlines 16:34 May 11, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more details throughout)

SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea urged South Korea's new government Thursday to end what it called confrontational policies, including joint military drills with the United States.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, made the call after liberal politician Moon Jae-in was sworn in as South Korea's new president on Wednesday.

"The two Koreas should respect each other and open a new chapter to move toward an improvement of their ties and inter-Korean unification," the newspaper said.

It said South Korea should end annual military exercises with the U.S. and prohibit Seoul activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

Moon is widely expected to seek engagement with North Korea to improve long-strained ties though Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs are limiting his leeway for reconciliatory policies.

While on the campaign trail, Moon vowed to seek a dual-track approach of pushing denuclearization and dialogue with Pyongyang.

The president said Wednesday that he could visit North Korea under the right conditions for talks over the North's nuclear and missile program.

"North Korea seemed to have indirectly expressed what it wants from the South's new government through the newspaper, instead of official bodies," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

North Korea's newspaper condemned the latest two-month military drills, repeating its long-standing claim that the move was war rehearsal for a northern invasion. The exercises which mobilized U.S. strategic assets ended in April.

It also demanded that South Korea stop anti-North Korea activists' leaflet campaigns.

North Korea is highly sensitive to the propaganda activities that aim to help ordinary North Koreans know the truth about its repressive regime.

The North also raised the need to ease military tension on the Korean Peninsula, calling for measures to reduce risks of conflict near the border and the contested western waters in the Yellow Sea.

"North and South Korea should seek dialogue and negotiations at various levels," the newspaper said.

The Chosun Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper based in Japan, on Wednesday reported Moons' election victory in the first coverage of the news by North Korea-related media. The paper is not North Korea's state media, but it serves as an unofficial mouthpiece for Pyongyang.

North Korea's state media has yet to release reports on Moon's election win.

(LEAD) N.K. urges S. Korea to end 'confrontational' policies as Moon takes office - 1

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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