North Korean leader vows to pursue better ties with South

Photo: North Korean leader vows to pursue better ties with South  / Other News

North Korea was to pursue better relations with the South during the coming year, leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's message Wednesday, dpa reported.

In a message delivered on North Korean television and radio, Kim said he would "make aggressive efforts to improve relations" between Pyongyang and Seoul. He called on South Korea to make similar moves.

The message came at a time of upheaval in Kim's inner circle, following the execution in December of his once-powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who was accused of treason.

Kim made no direct mention of his uncle's death, reported South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, but was quoted as saying "the purge of [an] anti-party and anti-revolutionary faction has strengthened the party."

He also said he would increase North Korea's military capability in 2014.

On New Year's Eve, North Korean news agency KCNA released pictures of Kim visiting the North's new Masik Pass ski resort. He is depicted walking on the slopes and riding alone on a ski lift at the resort, which he described as "impeccable."

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