North Korea Monday officially proposed dialogue with South Korea, less than two months after launching a deadly bombardment of a South Korean island.
Three official bodies separately sent notices to Seoul's unification ministry calling for talks and announcing the reopening of a Red Cross border liaison office, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said.
It said the messages proposed holding a working contact for talks in the North's border city of Kaesong on January 27, and suggested talks between Red Cross organisations in the southern city of Munsan on February 1.
The Red Cross liaison channel at the border truce village of Panmunjom would be reopened from January 12, the agency announced.
A Seoul government source quoted by the South's Yonhap news agency confirmed the North had sent an official letter. There was no immediate response.
South Korea, which had been seeking a request through official channels, reacted coolly earlier Monday to a weekend proposal made through state media for the "unconditional and early opening" of talks.
The North's November 23 bombardment of Yeonpyeong island near the disputed Yellow Sea border killed four people including civilians and drove tensions to their highest level for years.