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North's newspaper forecasts improved cooperation with South

The Choson Sinbo, a Japan-based pro-North Korean newspaper, gave an unusual prediction of improved economic relations with South Korea amid optimism that the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama and election of a new South Korean president in December may help thaw Pyongyang's relations with the two countries.

"Domestic (North Korean) economic officials ... are predicting that South-North economic cooperation projects will take off at a high speed only if objective conditions are met," the Choson Sinbo said in a news series on economic plans being pursued by the North's Kim Jong-un regime. The newspaper, published by North Korean nationals residing in Japan, is deemed the mouthpiece of the reclusive country. It did not elaborate on what it meant by objective conditions.

The news outlet also cited the South-North relations as the basis for building peace and economic stability in Northeast Asia, along with joint economic zones with China in Rajin and Hwanggumpyong Island in the northern area of the reclusive country. 

It then referred to leader Kim Jong-un's willingness for unification with the South, expressed in Kim's speech in April.

"The phrase that anyone who wants unification and national peace and prosperity will join and walk hand in hand will surely apply to the economic sector," the Choson Sinbo reported. 

The newspaper previously reported that the Kim regime does not deem its economic ambitions to be contradictory to its military-first policy, advocated by his father and late leader Kim Jong-il.

The reclusive country's new administration is widely believed to be pushing for an expansive economic development plan to shore up the livelihood of its people mainly as part of efforts to solidify its power.

The North's relations with the South, including economic ties, have remained frozen since Seoul adopted a set of sanctions in 2010, the year the North launched a deadly attack on South Korea's navy ship Cheonan. (Yonhap News)

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