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Kim Hyung-Suk, South Korea’s unification ministry spokesman confirmed on Friday earlier media reports saying Seoul had offered to hold talks with North Korea.
“Thursday’s comments can be translated as a message that says South Korea wants dialogue and that the North should do the same,” Kim said, Yonhap reported.
Seoul has previously avoided overtly promoting the idea of talks with Pyongyang, saying favourable conditions should be created first.
North Korea carried out its third nuclear test in February, prompting a fresh UN Security Council sanctions resolution against the impoverished state led by Kim Jong-un, the 30-year-old grandson of its founder.
South Korea will not resort to forces first amid the escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula, the country’s ambassador to China said.
“The Republic of Korea is not going to take any provocative military behaviour now, and will not do so in the future,” ambassador Lee Kyu-hyung told Xinhuanet in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has arrived on Friday in South Korea as tension with its northern neighbour continues.
The Secretary of State will also visit China and Tokyo.
The trip comes as Washington tries to press China to deliver a “tough” message to North Korea to rein in its nuclear programme and belligerent rhetoric, a US official said.
“We really want them to … carry some tough messages to Pyongyang” on denuclearisation, the official told reporters travelling with Kerry.
China’s defence ministry has denied foreign media reports saying its was reinforcing its armed forces near the North Korean the border.
The Washington Times reported last week, citing US officials, that China had placed its military forces on heightened alert in the northeast of the country bordering North Korea.
“The reports are not true. China is paying close attention to the development of the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and has always been committed to safeguarding peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” a Chinese defence ministry spokesman said, China’s state agency Xinhua reported on Friday.