North Korea Proposes Peace Talks with South

North Korea proposed on Saturday talks with the South in late January or early February and said it will reopen a liaison office in a jointly-run factory park with the South that it shut down last year.

Pyongyang's offer is the latest in a series of conciliatory gestures after tension between the rival Koreas rose to its highest level since the 1950-53 Korean War with an exchange of artillery fire and the sinking of a South navy ship last year.

In the statement, the North Korean government proposed an "unconditional and early" opening of the talks between Pyongyang and Seoul, as well as a resumption of various other dialogues that had been abandoned as relations between the two worsened, according to KCNA.

A recent conciliatory overture from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) seems to "lack sincerity", South Korea's vice unification minister Um Jong-sik told local media Friday.

The DPRK's state media recently called for"unconditional"and "early"talks with South Korea to ease tension on the Korean peninsula.