North Korea wants peace treaty with South: Report

Seoul, May 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Rodong Sinmun, an official paper of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), Wednesday called for the replacement of the Korean War Armistice deal with Seoul by a formal peace treaty.

The paper, which effectively reflects the view of the ruling party and its leadership, said there was "a pressing need to replace the Armistice Agreement, which is a relic of the war, with a permanent peace regime", South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The article states that the armistice treaty, signed at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, benefits only the US, and Washington's move to hold on to the deal reflects its desire "to stifle the DPRK by force".

"If the peace regime was created in the past, the current standoff over denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula would not have become a problem in the first place," the article reads.

The statement comes a day after North Korea announced it would not give up its nuclear deterrent capability amid "continuing US threats".

Tensions rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula in December last year after North Korea tested a Taepodong 2 missile and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test.

The UN Security Council imposed new sanctions against the Communist state over the tests, the US and South Korea began joint military exercises in March, and Seoul warned of possible preemptive strikes against its northern neighbour.

Pyongyang seemed to soften its belligerent stance this month when it lifted the highest combat alert for its armed forces and withdrew ballistic missiles from their launch sites in the east.

Choe Ryong Hae, a special envoy for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said last week that Pyongyang was ready to return to talks on its controversial nuclear programme.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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