N.K. appears to be closely watching Moon’s new gov’t: Seoul

SEOUL-- South Korea's unification ministry said Friday that North Korea appears to be paying much attention to the launch of liberal President Moon Jae-in's administration, citing a lengthy media report by its official media on his election.

North Korea's state media reported the results of South Korea's presidential election and other information in detail Thursday, one day after he was sworn in as president.

Moon is widely expected to seek engagement with North Korea to improve long-strained ties though Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs are limiting his leeway for reconciliatory policies.

The Ministry of Unification said that the detailed report contrasted with its one-sentence dispatch in December 2012, when the former conservative President Park Geun-hye was elected.

But the ministry remained cautious against views that the report may reflect its intention to improve its ties with Seoul.

"In 1992 and 1997, North Korea released more lengthy commentary about South Korea's presidential elections," said Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson at the ministry, at a press briefing.

"At that time, the North called for improved inter-Korean relations, saying that the two Koreas have a pile of tasks (for that goal). But this time, there was no such call in its media report."

On Thursday, North Korea expressed what it wants from the South's new government through the newspaper, instead of official bodies.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, urged South Korea to end what it called confrontational policies, including joint military drills with the United States.

It raised the need for South Korea to prohibit activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border and called for measures to ease military tensions on the divided peninsula.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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