North Korea has said it could halt its nuclear tests if the US agrees to sign a peace treaty and stops its joint military exercises with South Korea. The offer comes days after Pyongyang claimed it had "successfully" conducted a hydrogen bomb test.
"In response to the US continuously invading our sovereignty and making threatening provocations, we will acquire ourselves with all possible nuclear attack and nuclear retaliation abilities, but will not thoughtlessly use our nuclear weapons." KCNA news agency quoted the country's foreign ministry spokesman as saying on 16 January, according to the Associated Press.
The spokesperson said: "Still valid are all proposals for preserving peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia including the ones for ceasing our nuclear test and the conclusion of a peace treaty in return for US halt to joint military exercises."
North Korea has made peace offers to the US in the past also but they were rejected. Washington wants Pyongyang to completely abandon its nuclear ambition. The isolated state has been under intense economic pressure, caused by UN-led sanctions over its nuclear experiments.
In response to the fresh offer, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said: "We are going to continue to make sure the alliance is ready in all respects to act in defense of the South Korean people and the security of the peninsula."
"The onus is on North Korea to take meaningful actions toward denuclearisation and refrain from provocations," Kirby said.
On 6 January, North Korea said it had successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test underground, a move which was condemned by the US, UK, South Korea and China. It claimed the H-bomb was "capable of wiping out the whole territory of the US".
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