An Myong Hun, North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the U.N., said that “many things will be possible this year on the Korean Peninsula” if Washington agrees to call off its annual joint military exercises with Seoul in exchange for a suspension of nuclear tests by the North.
“If this suggestion is carried out, the
Korean Peninsula could resolve many of its issues this year,” An announced this at a UN Press
Conference on Tuesday while offering more explanation on the recent proposal by
“Creating a cooperative atmosphere with
genuine dialogue and eliminating the threat of war by relaxing tensions is
imperative,” he went on. “For this to happen, the
absolute first step is to suspend the ROK-U.S. joint military exercises.”
Noting that the proposition holds important
political implications he offered, “We are ready to sit down with
the U.S. and offer a detailed explanation of the proposal and its intentions.”
This announcement follows a message targeting the U.S.
by North Korea on January 9th, stating, “By temporarily
suspending the joint military exercises in South Korea and the surrounding area
this year, the U.S. can contribute to the easing of strained relations on the
Korean Peninsula, and we will respond by calling off nuclear tests, about which
the U.S. has expressed concern, for the time.”
In response, Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, referred to the proposal as a “veiled threat,” pointing out that another nuclear test would be a violation of the
North’s obligations under United Nations Security
Council resolutions and a 2005 agreement related to the six-party talks.