A day after South Korea's surprise proposal for dialogue, North Korea threatened further provocation should Seoul and Washington go ahead with their joint Ulji Freedom Guardian military exercises next week.
North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun warned Tuesday its threats of retaliation against such war games should not be taken as empty words.
It accused the South of turning a blind eye on nuclear threats from the United States while wickedly pressing Pyongyang to give up what it calls a justified nuclear program in the North as a precondition to building trust.
This, as Seoul awaits Pyongyang's response to its offer for high-level talks next Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjom to discuss issues of mutual concern.
Seoul officials have indicated that the South is willing to discuss Pyongyang's demands to lift South Korean sanctions on North Korea and allow Southern tourists to resume tours to the North Korean resort of Mount Kumgang.
The offer for dialogue followed Seoul's decision to provide Pyongyang with more than 13 million U.S. dollars in aid through the World Food Program and the World Health Organization.
President Park Geun-hye is expected to introduce further measures to better ties in her Liberation Day speech on Friday.
The shift in tone comes after months of tensions between the two Koreas, but whether Seoul will stick to its fresh strategy of offering carrots will depend entirely on Pyongyang's next move.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.