UNITED NATIONS, January 14. /TASS/. North Korea (DPRK) said on Tuesday it is ready for direct talks with the United States to discuss its proposal to suspend nuclear tests. Japan says this proposal is unacceptable.
North Korea’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN An Myong Hun told reporters on Tuesday that DPRK again urged the United States to accept Pyongyang’s proposal to halt joint US-South Korea military exercises in exchange for the North’s suspension of nuclear tests. He said that “many things” will be possible this year if the offer is accepted but declined to answer questions on what might happen if the offer is rejected, according to the Yonhap news agency. South Korea and the United States have annually conducted joint military drills, which they say are defensive in nature and aimed at maintaining their defence capability against North Korea.
The diplomat said that Pyongyang made a formal offer to the United States on January 9, but the Americans did not respond to the constructive proposal: “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 defence capabilities. This is absolutely unacceptable and cannot be justified by anything,” An Myong Hun said.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga held a news conference in Tokyo on the same issue. He said that such DPRK proposal was unacceptable because it violates the UN Security Council resolution. The chief cabinet secretary said that in late January representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the US and South Korean officials will hold consultations in Tokyo on the possible resumption of the nuclear negotiations in the six-party format.
In recent years, North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, in response to which the UN Security Council tightened sanctions against Pyongyang. In 2014, the DPRK authorities did not carry out such tests, however, carried out ballistic missile launches in response to large-scale US-South Korean manoeuvres.
The United States and South Korea plan to hold new naval exercises in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) on January 13 - 14. In addition, in early March, South Korea and the United States will conduct annual large-scale manoeuvres to check combat readiness of their troops. The US State Department has called the North Korean proposal an “implicit threat.”.