SEOUL, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- North Korea says the United States is to blame if anything dampens the mood for improving inter-Korean relations, while observers voice concern that cross-border military talks may generate sparks.
The North's Rodong Sinmun daily on Monday accused Washington of aiming to spoil the feel-good atmosphere between the two Koreas, once the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are over.
It is "loudly jibbering" that it will resume joint military exercises with South Korea after the Games, the paper said.
The daily claimed the U.S. has, in the past, made similar attempts to pour cold water on chances to improve inter-Korean ties, branding Washington a "villain that stirs tensions on the peninsula and hinders Korean unification."
Such tactics are emerging again, according to the daily, which said large strategic assets and military forces are encroaching on the peninsula and surrounding regions.
North Korea has condemned South Korea and the U.S's annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle drills which were postponed until after the Olympics as a move to appease Pyongyang during the Winter Games.
Pyongyang is likely to demand a complete halt of the joint exercises in cross-border military talks, which the two Koreas agreed to hold during their high-level talks last month.
Experts say while the South and North have, so far, managed to collaborate in arranging North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Games, the two sides are unlikely to see eye-to-eye on ways to defuse military tensions.
"North Korea insists South Korea-U.S. joint drills must cease as well as the deployment of U.S. strategic assets as a measure of defusing tensions, but South Korea is prioritizing resolving the North's nuclear issue," a a senior researcher of Korea Research Institute for National Strategy Moon Sung-mook told Yonhap on Monday.
Both the South and North appear to be tip-toeing around these issues during the period of the Pyeongchang Olympics, he said.
A government official agreed, saying that the two sides are attempting to maintain the current atmosphere for talks. He suggested it may be best to "wait and see" before holding military talks which would raise precarious issues, according to Yonhap.
The South Korean military said Monday that the North has yet to respond on arranging the talks but, in the meantime, Seoul is preparing for diverse forms of dialogue.