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NKorea to US: No Talks without Removal of Sanctions

North Korea says it will not engage in talks with the United States or South Korea without the prior removal of United Nations sanctions aimed at its nuclear program.

The North's National Defense Commission on Thursday also said Washington and Seoul should pledge to end their joint military drills if they "genuinely want dialogue and negotiation."

The conditions, carried in the Korean Central News Agency, are likely to be rejected by the U.S., which has said Pyongyang must take steps toward dismantling its nuclear program before talks can begin.

But the statement is also being seen as a possible sign that Pyongyang is finally ready to consider talks, following weeks of threats against the U.S. and South Korea.

The North is angry over U.N. sanctions passed in response to its long-range rocket launch in December and nuclear test in February. It is also upset at ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills that are held every year.

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