‘The United States says it rejected talks with North Korea aimed at formally ending the Korean War after Pyongyang refused to consider reducing its nuclear arsenal.
According to the Wall Street Journal, days before Pyongyang’s latest nuclear-weapon test, the Obama administration secretly agreed to discuss a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, in which a UN force led by the United States fought for the South, and China fought for the North from 1950 to 1953.
The fighting ended when 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed. However, no peace treaty has been signed since then, meaning the United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea.’
US State Department spokesman John Kirby on Sunday claimed that the proposal to negotiate a peace treaty for the Korean Peninsula came from North Korea. “To be clear, it was the North Koreans who proposed discussing a peace treaty.”
Washington called for Pyongyang’s atomic-weapons program to be part of the talks, but Pyongyang declined the proposal, US officials familiar with the events told the Journal.
North Korea’s January 6 nuclear test brought an end to the contacts that took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where American and North Korean diplomats usually interact in the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Journalreported.
“We carefully considered their proposal, and made clear that denuclearization had to be part of any such discussion,” Kirby told reporters traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman, Jordan.
“The North rejected our response. Our response to the NK proposal was consistent with our long-standing focus on denuclearization,” he added.
North Korea accuses the United States of plotting with regional allies to overthrow its government. Pyongyang says it will not relinquish its nuclear deterrence unless the US ends its hostile policy toward North Korea and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
The country is under UN sanctions over launching rockets considered by the West as ballistic missiles aimed at delivering nuclear warheads.
North Korea says it is boosting defense capabilities in the face of enemy threats. The country is irked by joint military maneuvers by South Korea and the US and views them as a direct threat against its security.
North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and carried out several nuclear weapon tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. It also conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, triggering condemnation from the US and its allies.