(AA) – North Korea wants to directly explain to Washington its proposal to suspend nuclear tests in return for an end to military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea, a North Korean envoy said Tuesday.
“The government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is ready to explain its intention behind its proposal directly to the United States,” Pyongyang’s Deputy UN ambassador An Myong Hun told reporters in a press conference at the UN.
Pyongyang’s proposal was sent Friday to Washington “through a relevant channel,” according to North Korea’s official KCNA news agency.
The plan is for Washington to temporarily halt the annual Key Resolve military exercises in South Korea, expected to take place in March, in return for Pyongyang’s suspension of a nuclear test, according to the North’s state media.
“The large scale war games, held in South Korea, are the root cause of the escalating tension on the Korean peninsula, and the danger of the nuclear war facing the Korean nation,” An said.
But the offer has already been rejected, as the U.S. and South Korea insisted last weekend that the North should not compare its nuclear ambitions with their defensive exercises.
The proposal that “links routine exercises to the possibility of a nuclear test by North Korea is an implicit threat,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday.
Nearly 30,000 American military personnel are stationed in South Korea, and the exercise is expected to bring together tens of thousands of troops from both sides.
North Korea’s offer came at a time of strife over a cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the studio behind the Hollywood movie “The Interview,” based on a fictional assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The U.S. accused Pyongyang of being behind the attack that the North denies.