Korea says the United States needs to end its "nuclear blackmail" and
respond to Pyongyang’s recent diplomatic overture to formally end the
decades-old Korean conflict. Fighting ended in 1953 without a peace
treaty, leaving North and South Korea still technically still at war.
Speaking during an interview Tuesday in London with Associated Press
Television News, senior North Korean Foreign Ministry official Jong Tong
Hak said a permanent peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula first
requires a North Korean-U.S. agreement.
Discussing Pyongyang’s view of the root cause of tensions, he blamed the
"successive hostile policy by the government of the United States and
its continuing nuclear blackmail against the DPRK," the Democratic
Peoples’ Republic of Korea.
"The American administration continues to send its nuclear powered
aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula and meantime it continues to
send nuclear strategic bombers to the Korean Peninsula,’" he said. "And
the United States of America continues to wage war exercises against the
DPRK with the South Korean side."
Jong said a compromise to break the impasses requires decisive action by
"The issue of signing a peace treaty between the DPRK and United States
can be easily solved by the bold decision of the American government,"
he said. "If the American government is serious about respecting the
sovereignty of the DPRK and ending its ongoing hostile policy against
the DPRK then it can be solved very easily between the two sides."
The two sides’ positions are so deeply at odds that it can seem like a
Washington’s position — which is in line with ally Seoul — is that it is
only open to talks on easing sanctions if the North makes it clear it is
willing to negotiate an end to its nuclear program, stop developing
long-range missiles that could reach foreign targets and live up to
other international agreements.
Pyongyang, for is part, maintains that it must have a deterrent to
counter the threat of a U.S. attack — nuclear or otherwise.
The U.S. Congress, meanwhile, is mulling whether the North should be
designated a state sponsor of terrorism. That designation was lifted in
2008 during negotiations on its nuclear program that stalled soon after.
Among the allegations was that North Korean-supplied rockets had been
used against Israel by fighters from the militant group Hamas.