to Yonhap, North
Korea's top envoy to India on Wednesday offered a conditional
moratorium, i.e. halt, on his country's nuclear and missile tests in
what was said to be an "apparent bid to hold talks with the
While the North Korean offer is conditional, its "demands"
are hardly outrageous.
Korea Ambassador to India Kye Chun-yong said Pyongyang is willing to
talk in terms of freezing its nuclear and missile tests under certain
our demands is met, we can negotiate in terms of the moratorium of
such as weapons testing," Kye
said in English in an interview posted on the website of India's
television station WION.
suggested that one of the key demands is the
halt of the U.S. joint military drills with South Korea,
which Pyongyang denounced as a rehearsal for invasion. Seoul and
Washington say their annual exercises are defensive in nature.
could be a potential hurdle, as South Korea's new President Moon
Jae-in said Seoul has no plans to scale back joint military exercises
with Washington, according to an interview with U.S. broadcaster CBS.
Moon dismissed as personal views his adviser's recent remarks in
Washington that South Korea and the U.S. may consider scaling back
their joint military exercises in exchange for North Korea freezing
its nuclear and missile development programs. Moon has repeatedly
stated he is willing to engage North Korea diplomatically, and now
that the first negotiating bid has been made by Pyongyang, there rest
may be simple protocol.
said, this wouldn't be the first such "moratorium": in
February 2012, North Korea agreed to temporarily put a moratorium on
missile and nuclear tests and freeze its uranium-enrichment
facilities in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid from the U.S. But
the deal unraveled two months later as North Korea made an
unsuccessful attempt to launch what it claims was a rocket to put an
earth observation satellite into orbit.
Korea, the U.S. and other regional powers said it was a cover for
testing the North's ballistic missile technology, which is banned
under a U.N. resolution.
recent years, North Korea has carried out five nuclear tests and
dozens of missile tests as it seeks to develop a nuclear-tipped
intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S.
Despite sanctions and pressure, North Korea has repeatedly vowed to
further develop its missile and nuclear weapons program, viewing it
as a deterrent against what it claims is Washington's hostile policy