January 26, 2015 12:39
North Korea on Sunday vowed to deliver "stern punishment" if South Korea continues to "challenge" the North's "patriotic appeal" for conditional dialogue.
The outburst was triggered by a fresh batch of propaganda leaflets sent across the border by activists here and Seoul's refusal to halt joint exercises with the U.S., both of which the North sees as a rebuff of proposals for talks.
The statement by North's powerful National Defense Commission threatened to "deliver ruthless punishment" against the country's enemies and warned South Korea must not "criticize" Pyongyang's proposals as "desperate measures" to escape from international isolation.
The statement pours cold water on hopes here of imminent talks between the two Koreas on fresh reunions during the Lunar New Year holidays of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
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