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N. Korea rejects S. Korea's call for denuclearization before peace treaty talks

All Headlines 19:15 March 01, 2016

SEOUL, March 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Tuesday dismissed South Korea's demand for it to first denuclearize before holding any discussions to sign a peace treaty, accusing the South of starting a nuclear arms race on the Korean Peninsula.

In a signed commentary carried by its official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang also rejected Seoul's demand to be a part of such discussions to sign a peace treaty that will replace the Korean armistice agreement signed over six decades earlier to end the 1950-53 Korean War.

"(The) great irony is that the South Korean puppet forces who are no more than war servants of the U.S. are talking about the main player in replacing the Armistice Agreement (AA) which has existed for more than 60 years. As well known to the world, the AA concluded on July 27, 1953 was signed by the DPRK and the U.S.," it said. DPRK stands for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The commentary came a few days after a spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry insisted any discussions on signing a peace treaty must be preceded by denuclearization of the North.

The North again dismissed the call, claiming the South was equally responsible for the nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"The South Korean puppet forces have allowed the conversion of South Korea into the biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the Far East as a shock brigade of the U.S. for a war for more than six decades and ceaselessly staged war exercises, big and small, against the DPRK under various codenames," the KCNA commentary said.

Pyongyang frequently accuses U.S. forces in Korea of holding nuclear weapons in the South, forcing Seoul and Washington to periodically deny the accusation.

Under a bilateral nuclear pact, South Korea is placed under the so-called U.S. nuclear umbrella, under which the U.S. will extend its nuclear deterrence to help protect South Korea in case of a nuclear threat from a third country.

Countering Seoul's call for denuclearization prior to peace treaty talks, Pyongyang demanded both Seoul and Washington first give up what it calls their hostile policy towards North Korea.

"Peace will never settle in the Korean Peninsula as long as the South Korean puppet group is hell-bent on confrontation with the compatriots in the north as the shock brigade of the U.S. for carrying out its scenario for stifling the DPRK," said the commentary.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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