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North Korea Calls for Peace Treaty with US Ahead of Denuclearization Talks

North Korean television broadcast

The U.S. says it wants to see North Korea return to six-party denuclearization talks before it considers negotiations involving a wider range of issues. U.S. officials commented Monday after North Korea called for peace talks with the U.S. and an end to sanctions as conditions for resuming the stalled talks.

North Korea broadcast its proposal for a formal peace treaty as a condition for resuming stalled six-party denuclearization talks on state run television.

The Korean War from 1950 to 1953 ended with a truce rather than a formal treaty.

The Foreign Ministry statement said a treaty is essential for ending a "state of war" that has been a "root cause" of tense relations between the U.S. and North Korea. It also called
for an end to international economic sanctions.

The United Nations Security Council most recently imposed sanctions on North Korea in June 2009 after Pyongyang conducted two nuclear weapons tests.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

"The North Koreans are well aware of what they need to do to come back to six-party talks in dealing with this issue," said Robert Gibbs. "And that is, give up the idea of a nuclear state on the peninsula, just as it agreed to do several years ago."

Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley also said North Korea must return to the six-party process, but rejected the idea of lifting sanctions as a precondition.

"We've made clear going back several months, we are not going to pay North Korea for coming back to the six-party process," said Philip Crowley.

China, Russia, Japan, the United States and South Korea have been attempting to persuade North Korea for nearly seven years to abandon nuclear weapons in exchange for financial, energy, and diplomatic incentives.

An agreement that North Korea signed with the five nations in September 2005 lays out a framework for gradual moves toward a peace agreement, in tandem with disarmament.