N Korea wants military talks with US - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 07-13-2007, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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N Korea wants military talks with US

North Korea has called for military talks with the US to discuss peace and security on the Korean peninsula, as the process of denuclearising the Korean peninsula gathered pace.

The unusual proposal for bilateral military talks preceded the expected arrival in Pyongyang today of UN nuclear monitors to oversee the shutdown of North Korea’s main reactor. It also comes ahead of Wednesday’s resumption of multilateral talks in Beijing over disarming the communist state.

In a statement the North’s military said discussions with the US should be attended by a UN representative and cover “issues related to ensuring the peace and security on the Korean peninsula”.

Talks could take place at a mutually acceptable place and time, but it urged the US to take the proposal seriously. “It is easy to miss a chance, but difficult to get it,” the military said.

The statement on the official KCNA news agency warned that Washington should not put pressure on North Korea “under the pretext of the nuclear issue” because to do so risked derailing the disarmament deal. Pyongyang would boost defensive measures if cornered, it said.

Analysts said Pyongyang appeared to be trying to exclude South Korea from future talks to examine a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula.

The armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean war was signed by the US, North Korea and China.

In any bilateral military talks, the North would be likely to urge Washington to end a “hostile” policy against the regime, normalise bilateral ties, withdraw its 30,000 troops from South Korea and halt joint military drills with Seoul.

“By proposing the military talks, North Korea wants to have an upper hand in future talks on a permanent peace treaty and in the process of denuclearising the peninsula,” said Baek Seung-joo of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

But the chances of bilateral military talks being held were not high, Mr Baek said, because the North had not carried out promises made in a February disarmament deal, which called for a normalising of ties between the US and North Korea.

However, there are growing hopes for a formal peace treaty in light of recent diplomatic progress to abolish the North’s nuclear weapons.

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