North Korea's top envoy to the United Nations said Friday his country stands ready to rejoin the six-party talks on its nuclear program.
"We have long expressed a position for holding the six-way talks," Amb. Sin Son-ho told Yonhap News Agency after a news conference here.
He added the timing of resuming the negotiations depends on "those who oppose" them. He was apparently referring to the U.S. and South Korea.
The six-party talks, last held in December 2008, also involve China, Russia and Japan.
Sin, North Korea's permanent representative to the U.N., also urged the South to take Pyongyang's repeated dialogue offers seriously.
On Friday (Korea time), North Korea proposed reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, asking Seoul to set a date.
The North has been on a peace offensive in recent months, claiming its move is sincere.
Sin also insisted on the authenticity of Pyongyang's overture to suspend trash talk between the two Koreas and improve bilateral relations.
The proposal was directly made by the National Defense Commission, the North's highest state body, not the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, handling inter-Korean ties, Sin pointed out.
It is not intended to put pressure on Seoul but to let it also show a sincere attitude toward inter-Korean relations, he added.
He warned of possible havoc from military tensions on the peninsula.
"We remind once again that even minor and accidental conflict can immediately lead to an all-out war," he said. "We never want to see things fall out of control and plunge into unimaginable disaster."
The envoy said South Korea and the U.S. will have to take responsibility for the consequences and reiterated Pyongyang's call for the cancellation of their annual joint military drills to take place in Korea or near the peninsula in February and March.
"If the 'coordination' and 'cooperation' with the U.S. are so precious and valuable, they had better hold the exercises in a secluded area or in the U.S. far away from the territorial land, sea and air of the Korean peninsula," Sin said.
He accused the allies of escalating tensions on Korea and called for peace and stability in the region. (Yonhap News)