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U.S. taking 'wait-and-see' approach to North Korea

A State Department spokesman said the United States urges North Korea to refrain from actions that heighten tensions.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Jan. 5, 2016 at 12:40 AM
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SEOUL, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The United States is taking a "wait-and-see" approach to North Korea after Kim Jong Un stated in his New Year's speech he seeks to improve relations between North and South Korea.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ori Abramowitz told Voice of America Washington supports improved inter-Korea relations, but that the United States would judge Pyongyang by its actions rather than its words.

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Abramowitz said the United States urges North Korea to refrain from actions that heighten tensions, and take firm steps toward implementing its international obligations and commitments.

In his New Year's speech, Kim had said unification is the most urgent and vital task of the nation, adding that the "outside anti-unification forces should be pushed aside to open a new era of independent unification."

But Kim may have other priorities – that include strengthening North Korea's military power, in case of war.

Pyongyang's state-controlled media outlet KCNA reported Tuesday, local time, Kim inspected a shooting competition held by the Korean People's Army, his first military activity of 2016.

North Korea stated the shooting competition was held in commemoration of the upcoming Seventh Party Congress, adding, "Comrade Kim Jong Un watched the competition from an observation post and listened to reports on the game's progress."

According to KCNA, Kim said that North Korea's "reliable soldiers are really good shooters" adding, "Well-trained snipers seem to be always hitting the target."

But Kim also said the quality of training needs to be improved.

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