July 1, 2014 at 6:40 am

South Korea dismisses North Korean proposal to reduce tensions as insincere

Seoul, South Korea — South Korea on Tuesday rejected North Korean proposals to reduce tensions including the cancellation of annual South Korean military drills with the U.S., saying they were insincere.

North Korea’s powerful National Defense Commission made the proposals Monday, describing the planned drills as a rehearsal for invasion. It also suggested that the two Koreas halt hostile military acts against each other at border areas and stop psychological warfare. South Korea and the U.S. have repeatedly denied that they seek to invade the North.

The North said a mood of reconciliation is necessary ahead of the Asian Games, which will be held Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 in the South Korean city of Incheon. North Korea has said it will take part in the games.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that North Korea must first demonstrate that it is serious about nuclear disarmament if it truly wants peace.

The ministry accused North Korea of breaking an earlier agreement to stop mutual slander.

Analysts say North Korea wants better ties with South Korea and other countries to help revive its stagnant economy.

Animosity on the Korean Peninsula remains high following a slew of missile and rocket tests by North Korea and its resumption of harsh rhetoric earlier this year. The two Koreas also earlier exchanged artillery fire along a disputed western sea boundary. South Korean officials said North Korea launched short-range projectiles and missiles into waters off its east coast on Thursday and Sunday.

The Korean Peninsula officially remains in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.