South Korea-North Korea: South Korea rejected North Korea's offer to take a series of steps to ease tension that included canceling Seoul's regular military drills with Washington. The North countered that on 14 February that Pyongyang must take nuclear disarmament steps first.
The North's National Defense Commission on Thursday proposed the two states halt military actions and mutual vilification to build better relations. The North indicated, however, it would maintain its nuclear weapons program .
South Korea's delegation said it would press ahead with the annual exercises which it said are defensive in nature. The South demanded that North Korea take "practical" actions for nuclear disarmament if it truly wants peace on the peninsula.
"North Korea should keep in mind that trust between South and North Korea is something that can be demonstrated with action, not by words," Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told reporters.
Comment: If the North is serious about the proposal to halt military actions, then South Korea should demand a sign, such as an early termination of the North's Winter Training Cycle, not just the same old demand for denuclearization. The Winter Training Cycle runs through the end of March for the ground forces.
The Korean People's Army supports at least a third of the civilian population through supply chain and family effects. Every full time soldier supports at least three other family members. Cancelling the final month of winter training would be a high cost sign of North Korea's commitment to better relations and worth reciprocity by the Allies.
The North's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile forces are a lot like the Frenchforce de frappe- one salvo in vengeance right before total annihilation of the homeland. However, the winter training cycle of the non-missile conventional forces has enormous linkages into and impact on the civilian workforce, the non-military economy and the civilian family members of the soldiers.
After the annual harvest festival, the extra civilian exertions and preparations are essential for a successful winter military training surge. For the civilians, the result is extra pay, rations or benefits. For the army, the result is adequate rations, clothing and creature comforts and high use consumables for successful military training.
Much of the North Korean economy would collapse if the Korean People's Army failed to train in the winter, especially before the winter wheat harvest. If the North is offering to halt its training, the South should call it on that offer.