The Republic of Korea (ROK) on Sunday denounced the New Year's address by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s top leader Kim Jong Un on rocket test-launch.
Seoul's unification ministry issued a short statement, saying the ministry strongly condemns the speech in which Kim said his country had entered a final stage to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic rocket.
The statement also slammed the top DPRK leader's pledge to continue to strengthen its nuclear and pre-emptive strike capabilities, describing the remarks as threats.
It urged Pyongyang to immediately stop shifting responsibility for the strained inter-Korean relations to Seoul and to stop intervening in internal affairs by mentioning the recent candlelit vigils and the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.
The ministry reiterated its position that the DPRK's nuclear development will never be accepted by the ROK as well as the international community, warning that Pyongyang would face much stronger sanctions and pressure if the country adheres to nuclear development.
It called on the DPRK to return to the denuclearization path with sincerity if the DPRK wants peace on the Korean Peninsula and improved ties with the ROK.