North Korea makes proposal to reduce tensions on peninsulaUpdated: 2014-01-17 06:33:06 KST
Instead of issuing yet another blanket threat against joint South Korea-U.S. military drills, Pyongyang chose a different tact on Thursday -- they proposed that both Koreas stop any actions that could stoke tensions on the peninsula, starting January 30th.
North Korea's National Defence Commission made the proposal through the Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.
The statement said that both Koreas should begin reducing tensions starting with the Lunar New Year holiday, especially surrounding five border islands in the West Sea.
The commission also said it would be open to holding reunions for families separated during the Korean War and resolving other matters of contention. if, and only if, South Korea cancels joint military exercises with the United States that are scheduled to begin late next month.
Thursday's appeal stands in stark contrast to comments out of Pyongyang on Wednesday, when the regime threatened to attack the South if the joint Key Resolve/Foal Eagle drills begin.
"Inter-Korean ties will plunge into a deadlock and an unimaginable holocaust and disaster will follow should South Korea and the United States go ahead with their nuclear war drills and military provocations."
Seoul answered with its own promise on Thursday.
"We will sternly retaliate against North Korea if the North carries out military provocations."
There's yet to be a response from Seoul over Pyongyang's latest proposal, but speaking to reporters on Thursday, defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said the annual South Korea-U.S. drills would go on as planned between late February and April.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.
Following the North's proposal, the South Korean presidential security adviser Kim Jang-soo held an emergency security policy meeting late Thursday to discuss how to respond to the latest development.
Details of the meeting will be announced later on this Friday.
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