S.Korea Dismisses Kim Jong Un’s Call for Reduced Tensions

Posted January 2nd, 2013 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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South Korea is dismissing a New Year's Day speech by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that called for reduced tension between the two long-time rivals.

Unification Minister Yu Woo-Ik said Wednesday that Mr. Kim's speech was “bland” and contained “no ground-breaking proposal,” adding thatb Seoul had good reason to question the young leader's intentions.

In a rare televised New Year address, Mr. Kim on Tuesday called for an “end to confrontation” on the Korean peninsula, and repeated his call for reunification between the South and the North.

Some analysts said the speech was unusually conciliatory, and represented a chance for improved inter-Korean relations. But others noted the speech also contained typically inflammatory language against the South.

In the speech, which was the first televised New Year address by a North Korean leader in 19 years, Mr. Kim called for the development of more “cutting edge arms and equipment” and repeatedly praised the military.

Inter-Korean tensions were raised in December when North Korea launched a long-range rocket that successfully placed what Pyongyang said was a weather satellite into orbit.

The move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council as a violation of sanctions banning it from conducting long-range ballistic missile tests.

South Korea's president-elect, Park Geun-Hye, has called for improved relations with North Korea, but has also insisted that Pyongyang make concessions on its nuclear and missile programs.