June 16, 2013
North Korea Wants High-Level Talks with US
North Korea's top governing body has proposed high-level nuclear and security talks with the United States, just days after calling off a planned meeting with rival South Korea.
The National Defense Commission, headed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said in a statement Sunday that the U.S. can pick the time and place for "senior level" talks to ease tensions and discuss a treaty formally ending the Korean War.
In Washington, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the United States is open to "credible negotiations" with North Korea, but Pyongyang must comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and agree to denuclearization.
She said the U.S. will "judge North Korea by its actions, and not its words."
The statement carried Sunday by North Korean state media said Pyongyang will remain a nuclear state until all outside nuclear threats against it have ended, and urged the U.S. to drop all sanctions against the North.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been high since the North's third nuclear test in February, which triggered new U.N. sanctions.
A rare, high-level meeting between the two Koreas, scheduled for last week, was canceled on Tuesday because of a disagreement over protocol.
The United States has been skeptical of any move by Pyongyang for dialogue as it has repeatedly reneged on deals, the latest in 2012 when it agreed to a missile and nuclear test moratorium, only to fire a rocket weeks later.