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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Korea urges talks on peace treaty to replace armistice

RIA Novosti


SEOUL, January 11 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea said on Monday it wanted talks with the United States on a peace treaty to replace the ceasefire that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War as a condition to restart nuclear disarmament negotiations.

"The conclusion of a peace treaty will help terminate the hostile relations between the DPRK [North Korea] and the U.S. and positively promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula at a rapid tempo," South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted the North Korean Foreign Ministry as saying.

North Korea and the U.S. are formally still at war as the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice and no peace treaty has since been signed.

"If confidence is to be built between the DPRK and the U.S., it is essential to conclude a peace treaty for terminating the state of war, a root cause of the hostile relations, to begin with," the North Korean Ministry's statement said.

Washington has repeatedly stated that the United States would sign a peace treaty with North Korea only if it abandoned its controversial nuclear program.

Six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, involving Russia, Japan, China, the United States and South Korea, 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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