Pyongyang invites US for talks to 'ease tension on Korean peninsula'
Talks aim at cooling relations after leader Kim Jong-un threatened nuclear war earlier this year
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Sunday 16 June 2013
North Korea has proposed high-level talks with the US to ease tensions and discuss nuclear disarmament across the Korean peninsula, a rare overture from Pyongyang that comes just days after it abruptly called off discussions with its neighbours to the south.
North Korea’s powerful National Defence Commission, headed by President Kim Jong-un, called on the US to set the time and the place for a round of unconditional talks to “secure peace and stability in the region and ease tension on the Korean peninsula”.
In a statement carried by the North’s state-run news service over the weekend, the commission said the country was willing to talk about a range of issues – including nuclear disarmament. However, Pyongyang made clear that it would not give up its weapons unilaterally; instead, it said de-nuclearisation of the region should also involve South Korea, and “totally ending US nuclear threats” against the North.
Last week the two Koreas were due to revive a dialogue that stalled six years ago. But the talks, which would have focused on proposals for economic co-operation, fell through because of bickering over who would lead the national delegations.
While apparently signalling a shift from the provocative stance adopted by Pyongyang last year, the offer of talks has prompted scepticism among analysts. On Friday, Glyn Davies, the US special representative on North Korea policy, reiterated that the US will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.
Analysts have cited the recent California summit between President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jingping, as a possible motivating factor behind the talks. China is Pyongyang’s principal benefactor, and the statement could be a way of appeasing Beijing. Mr Obama’s National Security Adviser, Thomas Donilon, said after the California talks that the US and China agreed about the need for Pyongyang to shed its nuclear weapons.
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 3 The Grace Dent Christmas Questionnaire
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
Postcard from... The Vatican
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...