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North Korea sets conditions for talks
April 18, 2013, 6:47 am

North Korea's leadership have called on Washington and Seoul to remove all nuclear arms from the Peninsula [Xinhua]

North Korea’s leadership have called on Washington and Seoul to remove all nuclear arms from the Peninsula [Xinhua]

North Korea’s National Defence Commission on Thursday listed conditions for resuming talks with Washington and Seoul amid festering tensions on the KoreanPeninsula.

The commission urged the United States and South Korea to stop provocations, fully apologize for their aggression  and give assurances not to carry out nuclear war games designed to intimidate Pyongyang, according to the official KCNA news agency.

It also urged Washington and Seoul to withdraw nuclear weapons stationed in and around South Korea, and refrain from redeploying them, if they want to reopen negotiations with Pyongyang.

The statement followed months of super tensions on the Korean Peninsula after the United Nations Security Council imposed fresh sanctions against Pyongyang last month after it conducted a third nuclear test in February.

The United States and South Korea have since carried out intensive war games in and around South Korea, including sending B-52 strategic heavy bombers and B-2 stealth bombers to South Korea, apparently in a show of force.

These moves have led North Korea to make repeated threats of war, which spooked many in and outside the region.

The statement noted that though the United States and South Korea have expressed the willingness to defuse the crisis through negotiations and diplomatic efforts, they have set preconditions for restarting talks with Pyongyang.

On April 11, US President Barack Obama urged North Korea to end its “belligerent approach,” saying that the US will continue to try to work to resolve the issues “diplomatically.”

Meanwhile, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Seoul hoped to resolve the political deadlock with its northern neighbor through dialogue and would provide humanitarian aids to Pyongyang.

The statement rebuked assertions made by Washington and Seoul that blamed the so-called “provocations” and “threats” as an obstacle in reopening negotiations.

It also said the situation on the KoreanPeninsula is directly linked with peace and stability in northeast Asia and the world, and that North Korea’s military and its people will closely monitor future actions of the United States and its “followers.”

China, a close neighbor of the KoreanPeninsula, has long called on all sides to exercise restraint and stop tit-for-tat strategies to avoid further escalations of the situation.

Amid festering tensions on the KoreanPeninsula, Chinese leaders have warned against stirring chaos at the country’s doorsteps.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said last week that trouble-making on the KoreanPeninsula issue would harm the interests of all the parties involved.

“To do that is nothing different from lifting a rock only to drop it on one’s own toes,” Li said in his meeting with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“The parties involved should shoulder their responsibilities and be ready to bear the consequence to safeguard the regional peace and stability,” Li added.   

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on April 13 called for denuclearization, peace and dialogue on the KoreanPeninsula, when he met with Kerry.

“China’s stance on the KoreanPeninsula is consistent. No matter what happens, China will stick to denuclearization and peace on the peninsula and settling the issue through dialogue,” Wang said.

Stressing that China is seriously concerned about the situation, Wang urged related parties to refrain from any act that may escalate the tension and called for restoring the Six-Party talks.

Wang called for the parties to have dialogue, improve relations, build trust, jointly promote the denuclearization of the peninsula and attain lasting peace in northeast Asia.

He underscored China’s unremitting efforts towards this goal.