North Korea has urged the United States to end its "hostile policy" towards Pyongyang, as the regime held off conducting another missile test despite talk that it would do so on the 64th anniversary of the ceasefire on the Korean Peninsula yesterday.
In South Korea, President Moon Jae In's administration promised it will continue to push for global cooperation to persuade North Korea to end provocations.
The three-year Korean War had ended in an armistice signed on July 27, 1953. As it was not replaced with a peace treaty, the two Koreas remain technically at war.
Ties between the two Koreas have since been icy, except for a decade of North-friendly relations under two liberal presidents, which the left-leaning President Moon is trying to resurrect, albeit with certain conditions.
Following North Korea's first successful test on July 4 of a ballistic missile deemed capable of reaching Alaska, it was feared that it may launch another missile soon, possibly from a submarine. But no signs were detected as of press time.
The South Korean military said it would closely monitor every possible provocation.
North Korea's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said yesterday in a commentary that there was "only one way out for the US", Yonhap news agency reported. "That is to withdraw the anachronistic hostile policy towards North Korea and kneel and apologise to its army and people," said Rodong Sinmun.
This came after the US House of Representatives passed a Bill this week to strengthen sanctions against North Korea.
In Pyongyang, many people visited the mausoleum of founder Kim Il Sung and his son yesterday to mark the end of the Korean War, which the North calls Victory Day.
Over in Seoul, in a ceremony at a stadium attended by war veterans from South Korea, the US and United Nations, Prime Minister Lee Nak Yon said the Moon administration will work with the global community to continue to "persuade and pressure North Korea to stop playing with fire and return to the path of peace and co-existence".
He expressed his gratitude to war veterans for defending the nation, adding that South Korea will "work harder to become a country that contributes to world peace".
The Moon administration, while insisting on a dual-track policy of engagement with sanctions, has proposed talks with the North and even offered a peace treaty.
South Korea's Defence Ministry said yesterday there is no change in the government's "determination and sincerity on dialogue" with the North. But Pyongyang has not responded on the issue.
South Korean observers warned that North Korea will continue to test missiles even if it missed the armistice anniversary.
Analyst Lee Sang Hyun from the Sejong Institute think-tank said Pyongyang has a history of launching missiles on key dates, but may do so on other days to take people by surprise. "I'm sure they will continue missile launches as part of provocations and continuing efforts to complete their missile technology."