SEOUL — South Korea on Friday called on the North to abandon its nuclear program in response to the communist state's latest call for practical steps toward an end to hostilities
"If North Korea really wants peace on the Korean Peninsula, it should immediately take real action for the denuclearization," the Unification Ministry said in Seoul.
Tensions in the region have been on the rise since North Korea carried out its third atomic test in February.
The spokesman also confirmed that the joint US-South Korean military maneuvers would take place in spring as planned. South Korea's Defence Ministry had already rejected a call from the North for them to be cancelled.
Observers said that North Korea could be trying to put pressure on South Korea and saddle it with the blame for the tensions with its neighbou\r.
North Korea's National Defence Commission on Thursday proposed that both countries should halt mutual insults and provocations from January 30 and that it would take the first step.
The most powerful decision-making body in the North liked the proposal that South Korea abandon the maneuvers with the United States.
Pyongyang regularly accuses the United States and South Korea of planning an attack with their maneuvers, an accusation both countries deny.