The United States and North Korea held secret talks to reach a peace treaty and formally end the Korean War, which broke down and were followed by Pyongyang’s nuclear test last month, US media cited officials familiar with the events on Sunday.
After initially indicating that Washington would drop a longstanding condition for Pyongyang to take steps to curtail its nuclear arsenal, the United States called for North Korea’s nuclear program to be “simply part of the talks,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Pyongyang rejected the counter-proposal, according to the outlet, ending the prospects of diplomatic peace efforts with a January 6 hydrogen bomb test.
On February 7, North Korea fired a long-range rocket to allegedly put a satellite into orbit, violating UN Security Council resolutions banning it from launches that may be used as ballistic missile carrying nuclear warheads.
“Submitting to foreign demands to denuclearize could mean delegitimization and destabilization for the regime,” the paper quoted American Enterprise Institute expert on North Korea, Nicholas Eberstadt.
US President Barack Obama signed into law the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act on February 18, strengthening and expanding anti-North Korea sanctions in response to the recent tests.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said he would continue to pursue the country’s nuclear weapons program.
The United States’ latest failed attempts to reach a deal with North Korea were said to be part of a string of unsuccessful efforts on the part of Washington to discuss denuclearization with Pyongyang.