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“We are ready to resolve security concerns on the Korean peninsula and provide assistance to revive North Korea’s economy through agreements in the six-nation talks,” Lee said.

The disarmament talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

However, Lee vowed that South Korea would maintain a “watertight defense posture” to deal with any North Korean provocations.

“If any aggression occurs, we will respond with strength,” he said.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s propaganda efforts to build up Kim Jong Un continued Monday, with state TV showing him dressed in a dark overcoat and laughing with officers as soldiers applauded during a field inspection. State TV also played a song widely associated with Kim Jong Un: “Footsteps,” a reference to his role carrying out his family’s legacy.

This year is a crucial one for North Korea as it aims to build a “great, prosperous and powerful nation” befitting the April 2012 centenary of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung, the new leader’s grandfather.