North Korea on Wednesday called for the United States to accept without conditions a treaty that would formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, the Xinhua News Agency reported (see GSN, July 25).
"The U.S. should not just claim that it does not have any hostile intentions to the D.P.R.K. in words but prove it in such practical actions as making a bold decision to replace [the 1953 armistice agreement that ended Korean War hostilities] with a peace agreement without any excuse or precondition," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Pyongyang frequently demands a peace treaty with Washington and justifies its pursuit of nuclear weapons on the grounds that it is still technically at war with the United States.
North Korea accused the United States of violating the terms of the armistice accord through its "steadily increased military and nuclear threats to the D.P.R.K. [that] in the long run compelled it to have access to nuclear weapons."
Noting the "stark reality" that nations lacking nuclear weapons "were brought down without exception in face of military intervention of hostile forces aimed at toppling social systems," Pyongyang "will never abandon nuclear deterrent first as long as the U.S., the biggest nuclear weapons site in the world, remains hostile toward the former," the ministry spokesman said.
The governments of Iraq and Libya abandoned their nuclear weapons programs only to be toppled in subsequent years by U.S.-led or backed military forces (Xinhua News Agency/People's Daily Online, July 26).
Meanwhile, Obama administration special envoy for North Korea Glyn Davies said there is little chance of resuscitating an abandoned bilateral February agreement that called for North Korea to halt some nuclear-weapon related activities in exchange for a quantity of U.S. food assistance, Kyodo News reported.
"They made it history by announcing a little over two weeks after the Feb. 29 decision was announced by both sides that they intended to launch a rocket which from the standpoint of not just the United States but the entire U.N. Security Council is quite frankly a test of multistage intercontinental ballistic missile," Davies said in an interview with Voice of America.
The North's April effort to send a satellite into orbit via a long-range rocket ended badly when the rocket broke up minutes after liftoff. Nonetheless, the action was roundly condemned as a breach of a council resolution banning the employment of ballistic missile technology (Kyodo News, July 25).
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney thinks China has a critical role to play in international efforts to deal with North Korea, the Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday quoted an adviser to the candidate as saying.
Beijing is Pyongyang's leading foreign ally and principal economic benefactor. For these reasons, Washington frequently calls on the Chinese government to use that relationship to pressure the North into better behavior.
"North Korea is a tremendously difficult problem," Romney adviser on foreign affairs Rich Williamson said at a Wednesday event in Washington.
If elected, Romney is likely to back renewal of the long-frozen six-nation process on permanent North Korean denuclearization, Williamson indicated. "On a bipartisan basis there has been support for the six-party talks."
The six-nation negotiations encompass China, Japan, North and South Korea, Russia and the United States. The aid-for-denuclearization talks were last held in December 2008 (Lee Chi-dong, Yonhap News Agency I, July 25).
Separately, a South Korean legislator said Ri Yong Ho -- North Korea's former top military official -- was fired last week due to his "uncooperative attitude" toward ruler Kim Jong Un's attempts to consolidate power over the country's armed forces, Yonhap reported. The lawmaker made the assertion on the basis of information shared by the South Korean intelligence branch (Yonhap News Agency II, July 26).
North Korea on Wednesday called for the United States to accept without conditions a treaty that would formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, the Xinhua News Agency reported.