Seoul: North Korea’s military proposed the holding of direct talks with US forces, an unusual plea amid recent progress on the nuclear standoff between the two countries.
The North’s Korean People’s Army proposed that the talks, also be attended by a UN representative, “for the purpose of discussing the issues related to ensuring the peace and security on the Korean peninsula”, the chief of the North Korean military’s mission at the truce village of Panmunjom said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
“It is easy to miss a chance, but difficult to get it,” the North warned. The request came amid a lengthy statement by the North criticising Washington for stoking tension on the peninsula through the international standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
The military said that if US pressure persists, implementing recent agreements on the nuclear issue would not be possible. It added that the North also “will have no option but to exert utmost efforts for further rounding off the means for retaliatory strike strong enough to cope with the US nuclear attack and pre-emptive strike in order to protect its dignity, sovereignty and right to existence”.
Officers from the US and North Korea have held general-level meetings since the 1953 end of the Korean War to discuss the armistice that has remained in place, leaving the two countries technically at war.