By Yonhap News Agency
June 21, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - NEW DELHI, June 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's top envoy to India on Wednesday offered a conditional moratorium on his country's nuclear and missile tests in an apparent bid to hold talks with the United States.
North Korea Ambassador to India Kye Chun-yong said Pyongyang is willing to talk in terms of freezing its nuclear and missile tests under certain circumstances.
"If our demands is met, we can negotiate in terms of the moratorium of such as weapons testing," Kye said in English in an interview posted on the website of India's television station WION.
He suggested that one of the key demands is the halt of the U.S. joint military drills with South Korea, which Pyongyang denounced as a rehearsal for invasion. Seoul and Washington say their annual exercises are defensive in nature.
South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in said Seoul has no plans to scale back joint military exercises with Washington, according to an interview with U.S. broadcaster CBS.
Moon has dismissed as personal views his
adviser's recent remarks in Washington that
South Korea and the U.S. may consider
scaling back their joint military exercises
in exchange for North Korea freezing its
nuclear and missile development programs.
The U.S. keeps some 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.
In February 2012, North Korea agreed to temporarily put a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests and freeze its uranium-enrichment facilities in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid from the U.S.
But the deal unraveled two months later as North Korea made an unsuccessful attempt to launch what it claims was a rocket to put an earth observation satellite into orbit.
South Korea, the U.S. and other regional powers said it was a cover for testing the North's ballistic missile technology, which is banned under a U.N. resolution.
North Korea has carried out five nuclear tests and dozens of missile tests as it seeks to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S.
Despite sanctions and pressure, North Korea has repeatedly vowed to further develop its missile and nuclear weapons program, viewing it as a deterrent against what it claims is Washington's hostile policy against it.,