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PYONGYANG, January 16. /TASS/. North Korea almost every day calls on the South to halt its joint military drills with the United States, an article published by the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Friday.
The scale of the South Korea-US exercises increases every year, “creating a threat to the peace on the Korean Peninsula and contributing to an increase in mistrust and confrontation between fellow countrymen in the North and the South,” the article reads.
The article comes in comments to last week’s statement by South Korea’s Defense Ministry Spokesman Kim Min-seok that military exercises should persist as long as the South Korea-US alliance structure exists.
“If South Korea in fact seeks to hold talks and improve ties with the North, then its authorities should demonstrate their sincere wish by stopping all the military actions aimed against North Korea,” the article says.
This could ensure a “breakthrough in the inter-Korean relations needed to reach progress in the fight for the unity and reunification of the Korean nation,” according to the article.
Pyongyang believes that the South’s refusal to participate in the joint drills with the US will allow creating favorable conditions for organizing talks at a high and highest level between the North and the South.
In his New Year’s speech, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un promised to make an effort to promote a dialogue with the South. "There is no reason not to hold the highest-level talks if the atmosphere and conditions are met," he said.
The US earlier rejected Pyongyang’s offer to halt its nuclear test should Seoul and Washington temporarily shelve their plan for joint military exercises this year. The US State Department dismissed the offer as a provocation and an “implicit threat.”.