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N. Korean president makes overture to S. Korea in New Year’s statement

SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called Tuesday for an end to the ‘‘confrontation’’ with rival South Korea in what appeared to be an overture to the incoming South Korean president as she was cobbling together South Korea’s new policy on the North.

North Korea issued a major policy statement on New Year’s Day, following a tradition set by Kim’s grandfather, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, and continued by his father, Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011.

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Although Kim inherited the central policies of his father, outside analysts see him as trying to distance himself from his father’s ruling style.

The most significant feature of Kim Jong Un’s speech was its marked departure of tone regarding South Korea.

‘‘A key to ending the divide of the nation and achieving reunification is to end the situation of confrontation between the North and the South,’’ Kim said. ‘‘A basic precondition to improving North-South relations and advancing national reunification is to honor and implement North-South joint declarations.’’

He was referring to two inter-Korean agreements, signed in 2000 and 2007, when South Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun were pursuing a ‘‘Sunshine Policy’’ of reconciliation and economic cooperation with North Korea.

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