SEOUL - North Korea slammed South Korea on Sunday for dismissing a peace overture by leader Kim Jong-Un, accusing Seoul of "pouring cold water" on its attempt to mend ties.
During his New Year address last Wednesday, Kim hailed the execution last month of his once-powerful uncle, and accused the US and South Korea of manoeuvering for a nuclear war.
But he also called for a "favourable climate" to ease tension with Seoul, saying it was "high time" to improve ties that had been strained for years.
The South Korean government described the move as an empty gesture Friday, however, urging the communist state to scrap its nuclear programmes to show it is committed to mending relations.
"Peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved merely by words," Seoul said in a statement.
"In order to improve ties between the South and the North, North Korea must show sincerity in building trust and above all, it must make genuine efforts for denuclearisation."
The North on Sunday fumed at the cool reaction by the South, calling it "undesirable" and saying it would result in further raising tensions on the peninsula.
"Seoul... answered Pyongyang's call for defending security and peace of the nation with bellicose remarks and provocative sabre-rattling," the North's spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK), in charge of cross-border affairs, told state-run KCNA.
KCNA described the move as "pouring cold water" on efforts to improve relations.
"This just indicates that South Korea has no will to improve the relations with the North but will keep to the confrontation and war this year, too," said the official.