North Korea's vow to abandon all peace agreements with Seoul drew a mild response from South Korea's president, who continued to express optimism that the rivals could hold negotiations soon.
President Lee Myung-bak dismissed the North's claim that his government's tougher policies were pushing the divided peninsula toward armed conflict.
"I hope North Korea understands that (South Korea) has affection toward the North, and I think that the two Koreas can hold negotiations before long," Lee said Friday.
Lee's comments came hours after the North vowed to abandon a nonaggression pact and all other peace agreements with South Korea. The communist country also said it would not respect a disputed sea border with the South.
Lee described the North's remarks as "not unusual" and indicated Seoul will wait until North Korea is ready for talks in good faith.