South Korea will stand firm in its policy towards North Korea despite a series of threats from the communist state, President Lee Myung-Bak said on Monday, urging people to stay calm despite the rhetoric.
"I am very aware there are people who are concerned about the recent series of North Korean threats. But you do not need to worry too much," the president said in his regular radio address.
"The government is ready to sit down with North Korea at any time and resolve every issue," Lee said.
North Korea late last month announced it was scrapping peace accords with the South, including a 1991 pact in which it recognised their Yellow Sea border as an interim frontier.
The announcement fuelled fears of clashes in the area, which was the scene of bloody naval battles in 1999 and 2002.
Inter-Korean relations have steadily deteriorated since the conservative president took office in Seoul in February last year.
Lee rolled back his liberal predecessors' decade-long engagement policy towards Pyongyang, and said major economic assistance would depend on the North's willingness to scrap its nuclear weapons programme.
He also vowed to review summit deals signed in 2000 and 2007 between the North and his predecessors.
The policy has enraged the North, which has suspended dialogue, imposed tight border controls and warned that armed conflict could break out.