DPRK demands peace treaty with US

Updated: 2011-07-28 06:26


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SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Wednesday renewed calls for a peace treaty with the United States to officially end the Korean War, nearly 60 years after fighting ended, arguing it could be the first step toward the denuclearisation of the peninsula.

Pyongyang issued its latest pleas for a treaty amid an easing of tensions with rival South Korea and during a visit by a top DPRK diplomat to the United States to discuss the resumption of stalled nuclear disaramament talks.

"Concluding a peace agreement may be the first step for settling the Korean issue, including denuclearisation," KCNA state news agency said in a commentary on the anniversary of the ceasefire in the 1950-53 war.

The two Koreas are still technically at war because fighting stopped with only a truce, not a treaty.

The North has for years tried to persuade the United States to agree to a peace treaty, hoping to force the withdrawal of some 30,000 American troops from the South.  

Pyongyang walked out of aid-for-denuclearisation talks in 2009 after the United Nations imposed a new round of sanctions for nuclear and missile tests. Last year, it said it wanted to rejoin the forum.

Washington and Seoul point to DPRK's revelations of a uranium enrichment programme last year as a sign it is not serious about giving up its plans to develop atomic weapons. The country has twice tested plutonium-based nuclear devices.

DPRK's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan arrived in New York on Wednesday where is he is expected to meet Washington's envoy for Korean peninsula affairs, Stephen Bosworth.

Hopes are building that the six-party talks, which also involve China, Russia and Japan, will restart soon after the nuclear envoys and foreign ministers of the two Koreas met last week.


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