N.Korea Urges End to Military Acts in Letter to S.Korea

North Korea's National Defense Commission has sent an open letter to South Korean officials saying Pyongyang is "determined to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity."

The North's official Korean Central News Agency carried the letter on Friday, which also vowed to work to "completely halt hostile military acts, realize the reunion of separated families and re-energize multi-faceted North-South cooperation and exchanges."

However, the letter also called for an end to South Korea's joint military drills with the United States, while defending its own nuclear force, which it said was only for self-defense.

Last week, the commission sent a series of proposals urging South Korea to cancel schedule joint exercises with the U.S. Seoul dismissed the calls as deceptive propaganda exercises, saying that as a democracy it didn't carry out preemptive strikes and questioning the North's intentions.
 
North Korea traditionally demands the South to call off the drills, scheduled for February and March this year, considering them a prelude to invasion, but this year it also suggested both sides take steps to ease tension, including a moratorium on mutual verbal attacks.
 
"Our important proposal puts the shameful past behind while containing our army and people's immutable will to improve inter-Korea relations together," said the North's state-run television network, KRT.

Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.

VOA News / Jan. 25, 2014 09:47 KST