North Korea proposes high-level talks with US

PYONGYANG : North Korea’s top governing body on Sunday proposed high-level nuclear and security talks with the United States in an appeal sent just days after calling off talks with rival South Korea.
The powerful National Defense Commission headed by North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un issued a statement through state media proposing “senior-level” talks to ease tensions and discuss a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War.
The rare proposal for talks between the Korean War foes follows months of acrimony over North Korea’s defiant launch of a long-range rocket in December and a nuclear test in February, provocative acts that drew tightened U.N. and U.S. sanctions. The U.S. and South Korea countered the moves by stepping up annual springtime military exercises that prompted North Korea to warn of a “nuclear war” on the Korean Peninsula.
However, as tensions subsided in May and June, Pyongyang has made tentative overtures to re-establish dialogue with South Korea and Washington. Foreign analysts say impoverished North Korea often expresses interest in talks after raising tensions with provocative behavior in order to win outside concessions.
In a notable shift in propaganda in Pyongyang, posters and billboards calling on North Koreans to “wipe away the American imperialist aggressors” have been taken down in recent weeks.
There was no immediate response from Washington, but President Barack Obama’s envoy on North Korea said Friday that while the U.S. is not averse to talking with Pyongyang, the bar for resuming engagement is higher in the wake of repeated threats and provocations.
Meanwhile, a recent proposal from Pyongyang for Cabinet-level talks with South Korea – the first in six years – led to plans for two days of meetings in Seoul earlier this week. The talks fell apart on Tuesday over who would lead the two delegations.
North Korea fought against U.S.-led United Nations and South Korean troops during the three-year Korean War in the early 1950s, and Pyongyang does not have diplomatic relations with either government. The Korean Peninsula remains divided by a heavily fortified border. AP/UNB


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