06/30/2014, 00.00
KOREA
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Pyongyang proposes "peace" to Seoul because it fears Beijing

A few days before Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in South Korea, North Korea reaches out to the South, calls for an end to mutual slandering. For analysts and experts, it is a move to appease China, North Korea's last ally.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - North Korea proposed on 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.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the National Defence Commission, Pyongyang's top military body, also called on the South to stop slandering against each other from Friday. It also urged Seoul and Washington to suspend their 2014 joint military exercises during the Asian Games in Incheon.

Despite political tensions, Kim Jong-un's regime announced last month its decision to take part in the Games scheduled to take place in Incheon, just west of Seoul, from 19 September to 4 October.

Seoul and Washington are holding the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian annual joint combat readiness exercise in August and September. The precise dates are not however available.

Pyongyang's peace proposal has come as a surprise, a conciliatory gesture ahead Xi Jinping's visit to Seoul where the Chinese leader is expected next Thursday for a two-day visit and talks with his South Korean counterpart, President Park Geun-hye.

Although China is the last remaining ally North Korea, relations between the two have cooled. Xi's decision to travel to South Korea before going to the North is a sign of the low point in Sino-North Korean relations.

Pyongyang's peace proposal is contradicted by the facts though. On 26 June, the North Korean government test-fired several short-range projectiles into the Sea of ​​Japan, without causing damage, a move North Korean media extolled as yet another example of the great military capacity of young Marshal Kim Jong-un.

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