N. Korea makes fresh call for improved ties with South


North Korea issued another call Monday for a lowering of military tensions with South Korea, even as leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw firing drills on an island near the sensitive maritime border.

A government statement carried by the official KCNA news agency said it was time to end “reckless hostility and confrontation” and called on Seoul to scrap its annual joint military drills with the United States.

Last week the North’s top military body had called for both sides to halt all hostile military activities — a suggestion Seoul dismissed as “nonsensical” in the light of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un
North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un

The latest offer is also likely to receive short shrift, as South Korea has repeatedly made it clear that the annual joint drills are non-negotiable.

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North Korea makes periodic peace proposals which are mostly seen as rhetorical devices for international consumption.

The latest statement came as Kim continued a tour of front-line islands with a visit to an islet in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) where, according to KCNA, he watched a firing drill.

On Saturday, Kim had monitored an apparently large-scale army, navy and air force exercise involving a mock assault on a South Korean island.