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North Korea ready for steps to improve ties with South — report

January 19, 2015, 10:35 UTC+3 PYONGYANG
According to the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, The North and the South will have to unify efforts to “open a new page in the inter-Korean ties”
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Pyongyang, North Korea

Pyongyang, North Korea

© AP Photo/Jean H. Lee, File

PYONGYANG, January 19. /TASS/. Pyongyang is ready to take measures for “the radical improvement” of relations with South Korea and will seek the reunification on the Korean Peninsula through “dialogue and negotiations,” the state-run Rodong Sinmun daily reported on Monday.

The North and the South will have to unify efforts to “get rid of mistrust and confrontation and open a new page in the inter-Korean ties,” says the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.

The report says “there will be no progress” in this direction should external forces interfere in this process in the relations between the two Koreas, which are currently at a very low level.

North Korea says that the South Korean authorities will deal a serious blow to the interests of the nation if Seoul does not wish to “abandon the policy of confrontation with fellow countrymen in the North while cooperating with foreign forces.”

Pyongyang believes that South Korea’s refusal to take part in joint military drills with the US and the introduction of a ban on sending balloons in the North carrying provocative leaflets will create favorable conditions for high-level talks between the North and the South.

In his New Year’s speech, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un promised to make an effort to promote a dialogue with the South. "There is no reason not to hold the highest-level talks if the atmosphere and conditions are met," he stressed.

South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye earlier stressed the need to create conditions to resume talks with the North.

“I hope that efforts will be taken to create conditions [for talks] to which North Korea will be able to react,” she said at the meeting with defence and foreign ministers who reported on Seoul’s policy towards Pyongyang.

North Korea almost every day calls on the South to halt its joint military drills with the United States. The US earlier rejected Pyongyang’s offer to halt its nuclear test should Seoul and Washington temporarily shelve their plan for joint military exercises this year. The US State Department dismissed the offer as a provocation and an “implicit threat.”.

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