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N. Korean media stress importance of improving inter-Korean relations

North Korean media outlets stressed Monday the importance of improving inter-Korean relations and the need to resolve all outstanding issues in the spirit of self-determination.

Articles carried by the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, and Uriminzokkiri, the communist country's main Internet-based media and propaganda website, called for ending confrontation and mistrust that has plagued South-North Korean relations in the past.

The reports come as cross-border relations, which hit a low ebb earlier in the year with the testing of the North's third nuclear device, have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks. The two sides reached a landmark agreement to reopen a joint factory park in Kaesong that had been closed since early April and are also scheduled to hold talks to arrange reunions for families separated by the Korean War (1950-53) later in the week.

"The important thing is to maintain the stance that all things must be resolved by the Korean people themselves, and to use this to build trust and harmony," the paper that reflects the outlooks of the North's policymakers said.

It stated that the seventh working-level meeting that helped to resolve the Kaesong Industrial Complex impasse is a good example of what can be accomplished by the so-called Uriminzokkiri spirit.

This spirit can be translated into "by our nation itself" or self-determination.

The Rodong cautioned in the article monitored in Seoul that relying on foreign powers while at the same time striving for trust building will have a negative overall impact.

"Such actions will stifle trust and fuel confrontation," the daily argued.

The remarks are seen as Pyongyang expressing displeasure at the start of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercise that kicked off earlier in the day and runs through Aug. 30. The year's drill involves thousands from South Korea and the United States.

The North has consistently insisted that the drill is aimed at invading the North.

The Uriminzokkiri Internet-based media outlet also chipped in and said the road to better relations between the two Koreas must be kept open at all times.

"Under no circumstance should either side take steps to fuel tensions," it said.

It then added that the Koreas should take steps to respect the spirit of the 2000 and 2007 inter-Korean summits that called for easing of tensions and more cooperation.

It claimed that because policymakers alone cannot take the sole role in improving relations the private sector must pitch in by holding talks. (Yonhap News)