According to The New York Times, on Jan. 11, North Korea proposed talks with the United States to reach a formal peace treaty that would replace the truce that halted the Korean War 57 years ago, indicating that it would not give up its nuclear weapons until Washington signed such an accord. Just one day later, South Korea and the United States said that they would discuss a peace treaty with North Korea only after the North returned to six-nation disarmament talks and began dismantling its nuclear weapons program. The two countries also rejected the North’s demand that United Nations sanctions be lifted before it returns to the talks. The North said treaty talks could be held separately or be included in the six-nation talks, which include the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan. The talks have been in limbo since last spring, when North Korea withdrew to protest sanctions that were imposed after it tested its second nuclear device and some ballistic missiles. The stance reflects the allies’ suspicions that North Korea is trying to deflect the focus of the talks, which have so far focused on ending the North’s nuclear weapons program.

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