SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea proposed Thursday halting all cross-border slander starting Jan. 30 and called on Seoul not to go through with its planned military exercises with the United States.
The "important proposal" made by the North's powerful National Defense Commission (NDC) came a day after Pyongyang warned of an "unimaginable holocaust" if Seoul carried out the annual drills, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises, from late February through April as scheduled.
In the message carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the committee said it is proposing a complete halt to all slanderous activities that can incite the other side.
The North's proposal calls for realistic actions to be taken by both sides.
The reason for the suggested starting date of Jan. 30, the eve of Lunar New Year's Day, was yet unclear.
The committee said this proposal is a formal request to the South Korean government with an aim to end all cross-border military provocations.
It then said Seoul must take the step not to follow through on its plans to conduct the joint military exercises with the U.S.
"The proposal is a move that can lift the specter of nuclear calamity," the statement claimed, pointing out that Seoul should not insist on following a path that can raise nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The committee, moreover, said that if its plan is accepted, headway can be made in hosting reunions for families separated by the Korean War (1950-53), as well as progress in other outstanding issues.
The North, meanwhile, said it is still committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which is necessary to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.
It added that all provocations must be halted along the so-called Seohae Islands located just south of the sea demarcation line between South and North Korea.
The islands have seen numerous clashes in recent years and have been cited as a hot zone where conflict can escalate between the two Koreas, which technically remain at war with each other.
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