North Korea's state media on Monday urged South Korea to "reject foreign forces" and "discontinue joint South Korea-U.S. drills."

The comment appeared the same day a South Korean delegation visited Pyongyang. State media also denounced tougher U.S. sanctions as "daylight robbery."

"It's important to solve inter-Korean and reunification issues independently by rejecting foreign forces and joining efforts of both Koreas based on the principle of national self-reliance," the Uriminzokkiri website said.

Another North Korean propaganda outlet Meari (Echo), said, "Whether to maintain the current mood of dialogue and reconciliation or to turn back to the atmosphere of confrontation and tension is dependent totally upon whether to resume the joint [South Korea-U.S.] military exercises."

The comments seem part of a concerted propaganda effort to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken international sanctions.

The official Rodong Sinmun daily in its inimitable style slammed the U.S.' recent addition of 56 more North Korean companies and individuals to a sanctions blacklist.

"The Trump clique's latest sanctions are a brigandish act of high-handedness and an atrocious act of provocation aimed at blocking a sovereign country's legitimate trade activities," it thundered. "We regard Washington's sanctions and pressure as a declaration of war."

"Powerful responses will follow, if the U.S. and its followers infringe on our sovereignty even a little, while talking about launching a naval blockade or cutting off our financial sources," it added.

Cho Han-bum of the Korea Institute for National Unification said, "The ultimate goal of the North's charm offensive is to have joint South Korea-U.S. drills discontinued and international sanctions eased."

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