N. Korea urges dialogue on nuclear-free Korean Peninsula
MOSCOW, January 1 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea stressed dialogue in improving relations with the United States as a key step toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula in a New Year's message on Friday, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Pyongyang traditionally marks New Year's Day with a statement outlining the communist regime's policies for the coming year.
"The fundamental task for ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of Asia is to put an end to the hostile relationship between North Korea and the United States," Yonhap quoted a joint newspaper editorial released through the official Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea and the U.S are formally still at war even though the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice. No peace treaty has been signed since then.
Washington has repeatedly stated that the U.S. would sign a peace treaty with North Korea only if it abandoned its controversial nuclear program.
The six-party nuclear talks, involving Russia, Japan, China, the United States, North and South Koreas came to a halt last April when Pyongyang pulled out of the negotiations in protest against the United Nations' condemnation of its missile and nuclear tests.
The North recently hinted that it was willing to return to the talks, but insisted it first negotiate directly with the United States to repair "hostile relations."
U.S. special envoy to North Korea Stephen Bosworth said after his visit to the country in December that both sides "deepened mutual understanding and narrowed differences," but Pyongyang had not clearly expressed its commitment to the return to nuclear negotiations in a multilateral format.
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