North Korea leader: Ready to go to war

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says in an annual New Year speech that he’s ready for war if provoked by “invasive” outsiders but stayed away from past threats centering on the country’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile ambitions.

Kim comments Friday largely stuck to well-worn propaganda but will still be pored over by outside analysts for hints about the closed country’s intentions for the coming year.

North Korea considers democratic South Korea and its ally Washington its enemies, and is pursuing a long-range missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to America’s mainland.

Kim didn’t offer a dialogue to Seoul and Washington but said he was open to talks with anyone truly interested in “reconciliation and peace” on the Korean Peninsula. He vowed to improve North Korea’s struggling economy.

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