Tuesday, January 13, 2015
N. Korea offers to meet U.S. on rejected nuclear test proposal
The north is putting the charm offensive in full swing. Notice they are responding to the US rejection of their offer without responding to President Park's overtures. We should always keep in mind two things. One of the keys to the north's strategy is to always try to split the ROK/US Alliance. Second, the north believes it is superior to the South and that by dealing directly with the US its own legitimacy is enhanced. It does not want to give the appearance that it treats the South as an equal.
BY MICHELLE NICHOLS
UNITED NATIONS Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:00am IST
South Korean soldiers take part in an anti-terror drill in Seoul August 18, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/KIM HONG-JI/FILES
(Reuters) - North Korea offered on Tuesday to meet directly with the United States in a bid to sway Washington after it rejected Pyongyang's proposal to suspend nuclear tests if annual U.S. military drills with South Korea were shelved.
North Korea's Deputy U.N. Ambassador An Myong Hun told a news conference at the United Nations that if Pyongyang's proposal was accepted then "many things will be possible this year on the Korean Peninsula." He did not elaborate.
On Saturday, the U.S. State Department called the offer by North Korea a veiled threat that inappropriately linked nuclear tests and the joint military exercises that have been carried out for decades.
"The government of the DPRK (North Korea) is ready to explain its intention behind this proposal directly to the United States. We're ready for that if the United States wants additional explanation about our proposal," An told reporters.
An said the "meaningful and significant proposal" was made on Friday through "appropriate channels."
"By refusing to accept our proposal ... the United States has shown once again that they will continue to increase attack military capabilities in South Korea while requesting us not to have our own national defense capabilities. This is absolutely unacceptable and cannot be justified by anything," he said.
North Korea is under an array of United Nations, U.S. and other national sanctions for repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests since 2006 in defiance of international demands to stop.
It often promises to call off nuclear and missile tests in return for comparable steps by Washington to ease tensions. It reached such a deal in February 2012 with the United States for an arms tests moratorium only to scrap it two months later.
The United States and South Korea have said the annual military drills are purely defensive, aimed at testing the allies' readiness to confront any North Korean aggression.
Earlier on Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel said the United States has no problem talking with North Korea.
"But talking is not negotiating. And our insistence is that North Korea come to the table prepared to honor its obligations and commitments, prepared to take meaningful steps that constitute credible and authentic negotiations," he said.
(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by David Gregorio)
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