"The government of DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) should come to the dialogue table without any preconditions if it has a sincere will to improve relations," the ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol said.

The remarks came in the wake of North Korea's top leader Kim Jong-un saying in his New Year address  that "there is no reason not to hold the highest-level talks" with South Korea "if atmosphere and environment are created".

The North Korean leader said no meaningful dialogue could be held in an environment where war rehearsals are being conducted, calling for a stop to annual military exercises jointly conducted by South Korea and the US. Commenting on the remarks, Lim said South Korea would respond to North Korea's "unilateral" call for a stop to the joint exercise "based on principle".

Lim said South Korea would hold a dialogue with North Korea "irrespective of dialogue form" for frank and effective discussion, noting that Seoul was open to all forms of dialogue to discuss issues of mutual concern.



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