As tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to mount, the communist regime in North Korea has remained silent in response to South Korea's offer to hold joint-military peace talks.
The U.S., South Korea, and Japan have been ratcheting up their forces, primarily in the Korean peninsula, as North Korea has made antagonistic moves and threats against all three countries. This includes a successful ICBM test that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called a "gift" to the "American bastards" on July 4.
The U.S. and South Korea responded by testing the launch of a precision missile the following day that could accomplish “a precision strike at the enemy leadership." This was followed by U.S. forces releasing spy footage of Kim, and his exact location during the July 4 launch, indicating to Kim that the U.S. could kill him at any moment. The top U.S. general in South Korea followed this up with a warning to North Korea that the only thing holding the U.S. back from war is "self restraint."
According to The Korea Times, South Korea's Unification Ministry offered peace talks between the countries respective military forces on Monday, and have yet to receive a response from North Korean leadership.
"We have not heard from the North yet concerning the military talks. We're still waiting (for its reply)," Ministry of National Defense spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told The Korea Times.
The Korea Times suggested that this delayed response may be North Korean officials debating whether to accept the proposal. However, one unnamed South Korean Unification Ministry official said that Kim may be biding his time in order to "gain bargaining power" over the dialogue.
Despite the delay — or possible refusal — the Unification Ministry official said that the potential for talks have no deadline, and that mutual trust can be established.
"It's true the two sides have had their ups and downs in relations with each other. Still, we need to head toward a road to build mutual trust in line with the inter-Korean agreements reached in the past," said the anonymous official. "There will be no deadline in our efforts to resolve conflict through dialogue. And I believe the North Korean authorities are not be much different in that regard."
Meanwhile, North Korea's state-run newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, criticized the offer on Thursday. The paper lambasted the South Korean government for offering talks of peace as they threaten North Korea with military action.
However, the Unification Ministry official dismissed the paper's criticisms.
"There were cases when North Korea maintained a critical tone toward the South and still accepted our offer for dialogue. I don't think the newspapers officially represented Pyongyang's view on resuming inter-Korean talks," he said.
If North Korea accepts the proposal for joint military talks, it will be the first time it has happened since Oct. 15, 2014.