Seoul: North Korea issued a fresh warning on Thursday that planned high-level talks with the South might have to be scrapped because of what it called Seoul's arrogant and provocative behaviour.
"Inter-Korean ties are now standing at the crossroads," the North Korean delegation that would participate in the proposed dialogue said in a lengthy statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.
The choice facing both sides was to "make the seeds of hard-won inter-Korean dialogue sprout or allow the confrontation to reach an extreme phase and spark off a war", the statement said.
The two Koreas agreed to resume high-level talks during a surprise visit to the South by a top-ranking North Korean delegation earlier this month.
Seoul has proposed an October 30 start date, but the only response from Pyongyang so far has been to warn the talks might not happen at all.
Today's statement suggested the peace overtures had been instigated by Pyongyang in good faith, only for Seoul to spurn the opportunity.
It blamed the South for a series of minor military skirmishes on the land and sea border this month, and slammed Seoul's refusal to prevent "human scum" floating anti-North leaflets across the border using giant helium balloons.
The launches by South Korean activists have been repeatedly condemned by the North, which tried to shoot down some of the balloons earlier this month triggering an exchange of heavy machine gun fire.
Military talks on October 15 to address rising tensions broke down with the North accusing the South side of behaving "very arrogantly."
Pyongyang has issued several warnings about the prospects for resuming the high-level dialogue, to which Seoul has simply responded by repeating its offer to meet on October 30.
The last round of high-level talks was held in February and resulted in the North hosting a rare reunion of families separated by the Korean War.