South Korea's rival political parties showed mixed reactions Friday to North Korea's proposal for a halt to all cross-border provocations.
The North's proposal, announced through the official Korean Central News Agency late Thursday, calls on South Korea to halt "all acts provoking and slandering the other side from Jan. 30, a day before the Lunar New Year's Day."
Specifically, it calls on Seoul to cancel the annual joint military exercises with the United States, which are scheduled to begin next month.
Such measures would help create "a climate for improved North-South relations," as called for by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in his New Year's address, according to the KCNA dispatch, monitored in Seoul.
South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party questioned the sincerity of the proposal, citing the communist country's track record of making peace gestures before carrying out provocations.
"In a word, it lacks sincerity," Hong Moon-jong, the ruling party's secretary general, said at a meeting of senior party officials. "South-North relations should be based on sincerity and trust, and depends completely on North Korea's change in attitude."
Rep. Hwang Jin-ha of the ruling party said the charm offensive appeared to be a means to shift responsibility to South Korea for any security tensions that could be caused by the joint military drills.
"What's important is not proposals, but actions," he said. "If the proposal is sincere, North Korea should act first by halting its military provocations and easing all military threats."
The main opposition Democratic Party, meanwhile, welcomed the North's move.
"Our government should act in a magnanimous and enthusiastic manner to provide a breakthrough in the deadlocked South-North relations by building trust by first discussing nonpolitical and nonmilitary issues," DP floor leader Jun Byung-hun said in a statement. (Yonhap News)