SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Friday expressed its regrets over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s fresh appeal for ending hostilities between the two Koreas, urging Pyongyang to take"real action"to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
"It is very regrettable for North Korea (DPRK) to distort facts and mislead public opinion while making ridiculous claims," Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told reporters at a regular press briefing.
His comments came as an official response to Pyongyang's so- called"weighty" proposal. The DPRK's National Defense Commission on Thursday called for a halt of verbal and military provocation between the two Koreas, urging practical measures to be taken to prevent a"nuclear disaster"on the peninsula.
"It was North Korea (DPRK) that violated the agreement to stop the inter-Korean slander and calumny,"said Kim."North Korea claimed the halt of slander and calumny just two weeks ago through its New Year's message, but it has since continued its slander and threats against us."
Kim stressed that trust between the two Koreas should be demonstrated by real action, not by words.
Touching on the joint military drills with the United States, Kim said that it was an annual, regular military exercise, of which neighboring countries, including the DPRK, have been notified according to the international agreement.
Kim said that the DPRK should take responsible measures over its past provocations such as artillery attack of a front-line Yeonpyeong island around three years ago, urging Pyongyang to stop complaining about the legitimate military drills.
South Korea's Defense Ministry repeatedly confirmed that its joint military drills with the United States, known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, will go ahead as scheduled, ignoring Pyongyang's demand for cancellation a day ago. "Key Resolve and Foal Eagle is an annual military exercise of defensive nature that was launched in 2002,"Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a routine press briefing Friday."Those have been notified of neighboring countries as well as the North. So the exercises will be carried out as scheduled."
The spokesman said that South Korea will not launch a pre- emptive attack because it is a democratic country, dismissing worries from the DPRK that the joint military drills must be a rehearsal for a northward invasion.
Following the purge and execution of Jang Song-Thaek, once- powerful uncle of DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, fears spread in the South Korean government that Pyongyang would make military provocations between January and March to forge an internal unity, using the planned joint military exercises as an excuse.
Meanwhile, Seoul urged Pyongyang to take"real action"to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula."The essence of the nuclear issue lies at North Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear development,"said Kim, the unification ministry spokesman.
Kim said that the DPRK threatened peace on the peninsula and in the Northeast Asia by upgrading its nuclear weapons capabilities through several nuclear tests in violation of the agreement with the international community, urging Pyongyang to take immediate action for the denuclearization to secure peace on the peninsula.
The United States on Thursday renewed its call for the DPRK to abandon its nuclear program in response to the DPRK's appeal for the halt of hostilities on the peninsula. The State Department said that the U.S. and its allies, including Japan and South Korea, have set the DPRK's moves to scrap its nuclear weapons program as a condition to resume the six-party talks, the aid-for- denuclearization dialogue also involving China and Russia.
The Unification Ministry spokesman repeated Seoul's call for holding reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, saying that it is an urgent, humanitarian issue that cannot be linked to political, military situations.
The spokesman urged Pyongyang to hold the family reunion without any preconditions, saying that there has been no change in the South Korean government's stance of developing inter-Korean relations with trust-building process.
In her New Year's speech, South Korean President Park Geun-hye proposed the family reunion around the Lunar New Year's Day, but the DRPK rejected the offer, citing the joint military drills between Seoul and Washington and its hopes for resuming the tour to the DPRK's Mount Kumgang resort should be tackled together.
Video>>>DPRK issues proposal to prevent "nuclear disaster"
DPRK calls for end of inter-Korea hostilities to prevent "nuclear disaster"
PYONGYANG, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday called for verbal and military provocations between the two sides of the Korean Peninsula to stop, and urged practical measures to be taken to prevent a "nuclear disaster," the official KCNA news agency reported. Full story
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Thursday renewed its call for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK) to abandon its nuclear program after Pyongyang's fresh appeal for ending hostilities on the Korean Peninsula.
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