The Latest on diplomatic efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula (all times local):

2 p.m.

South Korea has proposed talks with North Korea next week to discuss details of the upcoming summit talks between their leaders.

South Korea's presidential office said Wednesday it wants preliminary talks at the border on March 29 to determine the exact date and agendas for the summit talks.

Earlier this month, the Koreas agreed to hold leaders' meeting in late April at the border village of Panmunjom when senior Seoul officials visited Pyongyang.

The Seoul officials said North Korea also proposed talks between its leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump, and Trump agreed to meet him by the end of May.

The planned summit meetings raised hopes for a breakthrough in the North Korean nuclear crisis.


12:30 p.m.

North Korea's state media say the country's moves to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula are evidence of its confidence and national strength, not a sign of weakness.

The attack against criticism of the diplomatic moves is surprising because North Korea's media have yet to report virtually any of the diplomatic activity. Only U.S. and South Korean officials have said Kim Jong Un plans to meet with President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in by May.

The commentary by the Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday acknowledged only that the North has started a "dialogue peace offensive." It criticized current and former officials and experts in the U.S. and Japan, along with conservatives in South Korea, for suggesting Pyongyang is feeling the sting of increasingly tough sanctions.