North urges U.S. to sit for talks

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North urges U.S. to sit for talks

Although North Korea has recently threatened the United States with a nuclear strike, it urged the United States on Monday to prepare for diplomatic negotiations, as an alternative to military pressure and unilateral sanctions.

Denouncing the latest UN Security Council sanctions as “anachronistic and suicidal,” North Korea’s top military body requested that the United States end sanctions and work instead toward stabilizing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The statement of the spokesman for the National Defense Commission, carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency, came out one month after the United Nations imposed its harshest-ever sanctions against North Korea on March 3 in reaction to the North’s fourth nuclear test, conducted on Jan. 6, and long-range missile test, conducted on Feb. 7.

“The synonymous Leningrad blockade, the most severe sanctions in world military history, and the Caribbean Cold War crisis, cannot even be compared to today’s situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said, adding that the sanctions are “anachronistic and rashly suicidal, although they do not know it yet.”

When South Korea and the United States began their largest-ever joint military exercises on March 7, the North’s military vowed a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike.”

Since then, North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric against the two allies and threatened nuclear attacks, boasting of its advanced nuclear strike technologies, although many experts and officials remain dubious.

North Korea expert Hong Woo-taek, a researcher at the Korea Institute of National Unification, dismissed the sincerity of the North’s conciliatory gesture, calling it a two-track tactic designed to incite disputes in the South by beating their swords upon their shields while at the same time offering white poppies and olive branches.

BY KIM SO-HEE [kim.sohee0905@joongang.co.kr]

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