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U.S. urges N. Korea to mend ties with S. Korea

Responding to North Korea's fresh military threats against South Korea, the United States called on the communist nation Friday to improve inter-Korean ties.

Earlier in the day, the North's military issued a statement vowing to launch “retaliatory military attacks” against South Korea because its reserve forces used photos of North Korean leaders for target practice.

The threats were the latest in a series of hostile gestures by the North, including the disclosure of a secret meeting with the South in Beijing last month and termination of exclusive contract with a Seoul conglomerate for the Mount Geumgang tourism business.

"It's obviously not the kind of behavior that we are looking for from North Korea," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a press briefing. "We've said that many times we are looking for North Korea to put its relations with South Korea on a more positive track."

After weeks of overtures for dialogue with Seoul, Pyongyang has been stepping up threats, especially following leader Kim Jong-il's trip to China.

Toner would not be drawn into a question on a possible link between Kim's recent China visit and Pyongyang's tougher stance.

(Yonhap News) 
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