North Korea proposed Monday that the two Koreas stop all military hostilities from this week, in an apparent show of its efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Seoul.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the National Defense Commission, the North's top military body, also called on the South to stop slandering against each other from Friday.
The defense commission further called on South Korea and the United States to suspend their joint military exercise during the 2014 Asian Games, the KCNA said.
Seoul and Washington are slated to hold the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, an annual joint combat readiness exercise in August and September.
Despite lingering tension on the Korean Peninsula, the North in May announced its plan to join the 2014 Asian Games to be held in the metropolitan city of Incheon, just west of Seoul, from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.
The North's surprise proposal is seen as a conciliatory gesture ahead of Xi's visit to Seoul on Thursday and Friday. Xi and South Korean President Park Geun-hye are expected to discuss North Korea's nuclear issue and ways to further enhance their bilateral relations.
China is North Korea's last-remaining ally and its largest economic benefactor.
It also came after the North fired two short-range missiles into the East Sea early Sunday and launched three short-range projectiles also in the waters off the east coast four days earlier, the latest in a series of rocket launches in recent months. (Yonhap)