BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) called for ending hostilities between the two sides of the Korean Peninsula on Thursday, urging practical measures to be taken to prevent a "nuclear disaster." But the appeal failed to draw positive responses from South Korea or the United States.
The National Defense Commission (NDC) of DPRK made a three-point proposal to South Korea, saying the inter-Korean relations could thaw, including on issues such as the families separated by war, if the two sides make concerted efforts to implement the proposals starting Jan. 30, the Lunar New Year, the official KCNA news agency reported.
The NDC called for practical measures to be taken to halt "all acts of provoking and slandering the other side" and "all hostile military acts" for establishing a climate to improve north-south relations.
The NDC urged South Korea to abandon joint military exercises with the United States, including the computer-simulated "Key Resolve" command post exercise and the "Foal Eagle" field training exercise scheduled from late February to April.
The NDC specially proposed "stopping all acts provoking the other side on the ground and in the sea and air including five islands in the West Sea," hotspots where both sides are in acute show-down, adding that the DPRK will take "practical action first for the realization of this proposal."
The commission also stressed that the DPRK still wants denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, urging South Korea to abandon "Double Acts" - attaching itself to the United States while denying a nuclear deterrent to its "same nation," the DPRK.
"It is high time to terminate the vicious circle between the same nation and make amiable atmosphere," said the proposal, expecting an "echo" from South Korea.
In response, South Korea expressed regrets over the DPRK's fresh appeal Friday, urging Pyongyang to take"real action" to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
"It is very regrettable for North Korea (the 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.
On Wednesday, the DPRK's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Seoul and Washington must cancel their annual military drills as they are "little short of the declaration of an all-out nuclear war."
Last year, the U.S. Air Force's B-2 stealth bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, conducted its first-ever firing drill in South Korea during joint exercises.
The U.S. military also deployed other nuclear-capable weapons, including B-52 bombers and submarine USS Cheyenne during its joint drills with South Korea.
South Korea claims the joint military drills are defensive in nature, but the DPRK denounced them as rehearsals for a northward invasion.
The committee warned of an "unimaginable holocaust and disaster" and a crisis in inter-Korean ties if "the rehearsal for a nuclear invasion into the DPRK" carries on this year.
South Korea's Defense Ministry on Thursday and Friday rejected the calls from the DPRK, saying the annual joint military drills between Seoul and Washington will be conducted as scheduled.
"If North Korea (the DPRK) makes military provocations citing our normal military exercises, our military will sternly and ruthlessly retaliate against such provocations," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said at a press briefing.
The United States on Thursday dismissed the proposals from the DPRK, saying its "core policy" on the country remains unchanged.
Washington and its allies, Japan and South Korea, have set Pyongyang's moves to abandon its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear program as a condition for resuming the six-party talks, a mechanism also involving Russia and China.
"We'll continue to hold North Korea (the DPRK) to these commitments and its international obligations," State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said, adding "we won't accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state."
"The ball remains in their court and they haven't taken any steps to change the views of the international community on this issue," she said.
China on Thursday asked all parties to show restraint on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is the duty of all sides and is in line with their common interests.
Noting that China has always advocated solving the nuclear issue through dialogue, Hong said the overall situation on the peninsula is fragile and China expects all sides to avoid provocative moves and help stabilize the situation.
Video>>>DPRK issues proposal to prevent "nuclear disaster"
DPRK calls for end of inter-Korea hostilities to prevent "nuclear disaster"
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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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