North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for an end to the confrontation between North and South Korea.
The two countries are still technically at war with each other due to the absence of a peace treaty that would have ended the conflict that began in the 1950′s. The annual New Year’s State address, which is typically published in leading state newspapers, was instead broadcast over state media. The address was the first given in 19 years by a North Korean leader, as Kim Jong-Il rarely spoke in public.
“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. Past records of inter-Korean relations show that confrontation between fellow countrymen leads to nothing but war.”
North Korea has offered the proverbial olive branch to South Korea in the past, but it appears this time that it may be more of a plea for aid. The impoverished country has raised tensions all over the world by launching a long-range rocket that was “aimed at putting a scientific satellite in orbit”. The country is currently banned from testing missile or nuclear technology under U.N. sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons tests.
South Korea elected it’s first female president last month. Park Guen-hye is the daughter of assassinated military ruler Park Chung-hee, whom Kim Jong-un’s grandfather attempted to murder at the height of the Korean Cold war confrontation. Park has vowed to engage North Korea, calling for a dialogue to build confidence between the split countries. However she has also demanded that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions, a point that was conspicuously missing from Kim Jong-un’s address.
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