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US rejects N. Korea conditions for nuclear talks, wants ‘clear signals’ from Pyongyang

US rejects N. Korea conditions for nuclear talks, wants ‘clear signals’ from Pyongyang
US Secretary of State John Kerry has dismissed conditions laid out by North Korea for talks as unacceptable. Earlier Thursday, Pyongyang demanded the removal of all UN sanctions and a promise by the US not to engage in ‘nuclear war practice’ with Seoul.

North Korea said the demands will have to be fulfilled if Washington truly seeks any meaningful dialogue with Pyongyang.

"If the United States and the puppet South have the slightest desire to avoid the sledge-hammer blow of our army and the people...and truly wish dialogue and negotiations, they must make the resolute decision,"
the North's National Defense Commission said in a statement.

"Firstly, the sanctions resolutions by the UN Security Council that were fabricated with unjust reasons must be withdrawn," North Korea's top military body said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

But Washington is refusing to bow to Pyongyang’s demands, instead choosing to lay out its own set of requirements.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate hearing that Pyongyang's offer was "at least a beginning gambit," but added that it was "not acceptable, obviously, and we have to go further."

Kerry added that Washington would not return to past cycles of “Here's a little food aid, here's a little this, then we'll talk.”

His thoughts were echoed by White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who said the US is “open to credible, authentic negotiations, but that's going to require clear signals from the North Korean regime, signals we haven't seen so far.”

"The belligerent actions and words that we've seen emanating from the North Korean regime actually indicate the opposite,” he added.

The latest standoff between North Korea and the US – backed by South Korea – has been going on since Pyongyang’s third missile test in February of this year. A third round of UN sanctions adopted in response was then followed by joint US-South Korean war games in the waters of the Korean Peninsula.

An exchange of threats has been taking place, including Pyongyang’s promise to wage nuclear war on the US and its bases in the Pacific and South Korea. The US for its part deployed its F-22 fighter jets and the ‘USS Fitzgerald’ destroyer into Korean waters, further escalating tensions.