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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

S.Korea Offers Talks With North - Spokesman

RIA Novosti

12:16 12/04/2013

SEOUL/MOSCOW, April 12 (RIA Novosti) - Seoul is open for talks with Pyongyang to ease the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman said on Friday in comments reported by a local news agency.

South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk confirmed on Friday earlier media reports saying Seoul had offered to hold talks with North Korea on Thursday.

'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 favorable conditions should be created first.

Earlier this week North Korea urged foreigners to evacuate the North and South, saying it could not guarantee their safety after April 10. There have been no evacuations, however.

The North Korean evacuation appeal came shortly after the isolated state threatened to launch nuclear attacks on both the US mainland and American military bases in the region.

China's Defense Ministry on Friday denied foreign media reports saying its was reinforcing its armed forces near the North Korean 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 Defense Ministry spokesman said, China's state agency Xinhua reported on Friday.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in South Korea on Friday for a visit likely to be focused on the conflict with the North.

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