World Bulletin/News Desk
The fate of tensions on the Korean Peninsula was back in North Korea's hands Sunday, after the arrival of news overnight that the United States had rejected a denuclearization deal put forward by Pyongyang on Friday.
The proposal was for Washington to temporarily halt military drills in South Korea in return for Pyongyang's suspension of plans to carry out a nuclear test, according to the North's state media.
North Korea has frequently blamed such U.S.-South Korean exercises for worsening ties - and as an excuse to further its own nuclear weapon ambitions.
But Washington swiftly distanced itself from Pyongyang's deal, as State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki addressed reporters on a stopover in Germany on Saturday, CET.
Psaki told reporters that the U.S. considered the proposal to be an "implicit threat," and accused North Korea's leadership of "inappropriately" linking long-standing, defensive military drills with widely condemned nuclear activities.
"A new nuclear test would be a clear violation of North Korea's obligations under multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions," Psaki said.
The North has previously carried out three recognized nuclear tests - the most recent took place in early 2013 and heralded months of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The presence of nearly 30,000 U.S. military personnel in South Korea today reflects an uneasy close to the 1950-53 Korean War, after which a peace treaty was never signed.
The need for a denuclearization breakthrough gained urgency this week when a Seoul defense white paper suggested that Pyongyang has made significant strides in its nuclear warhead technology.
Meanwhile, Washington is "open to dialogue" with North Korea, according to Psaki, but only if the reclusive state's leadership first takes steps towards denuclearization - an unlikely prospect based on recent form.
Last Mod: 11 Ocak 2015, 12:46