South Korea rebuffed on Friday North Korea's proposal to stop the cross-border mud-slinging between them, saying the North should find concrete ways to demonstrate its sincerity if it wants to improve inter-Korean relations.
"It is North Korea that has continued to slander us, despite an earlier inter-Korean agreement not to use slander. The North must remember that trust between the two Koreas will be built through action, not words."
In what it called an "important proposal" Thursday, the North's National Defense Commission offered to initiate steps to ease tensions between the two Koreas, if Seoul called off its regular military exercises with Washington that take place in early spring every year.
Seoul reiterated the regular exercises will continue as long as the North poses a threat to the South.
"Our military drills are annual defensive training exercises carried out by a sovereign state and we officially notify neighboring countries, including North Korea, every year, as is the international custom."
Seoul said Pyongyang must take practical steps towards denuclearization to secure peace on the Korean peninsula and called for a swift resumption of family reunions for those separated since the Korean War, which it said would be a first step toward friendlier inter-Korean ties.
Experts say that with the rejection, relations between the two Koreas will be on thin ice, at least for now.
"South Korea remains wary of any new conciliatory gestures by the North. Just last year, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un proposed better inter-Korean ties in his New Year's Day speech, but followed that with a nuclear test a month later.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News."