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N. Korea leader calls for easing of tensions with S. Korea

Published on Jan 1, 2013 9:02 AM
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a New Year address in Pyongyang in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency on Jan 1, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called on Tuesday for an easing of tensions with the South and flagged a "radical turnabout" in the national economy in a rare voiced message broadcast on state television.

"An important issue in putting an end to the division of the country and achieving its reunification is to remove confrontation between the North and the South," Mr Kim said in a New Year's message.

"The past records of inter-Korean relations show that confrontation between fellow countrymen leads to nothing but war," he said.

The message came just weeks after the election of the conservative Park Geun Hye as South Korea's new president and coincided with UN Security Council discussions on how to punish North Korea for its recent long-range rocket launch.

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