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US rejects North Korea's call for peace treaty

US on Monday rejected North Korea's proposal to discuss a peace treaty saying Pyongyang should first take steps towards denuclearisation.

world Updated: Jan 12, 2010 07:15 IST

US on Monday rejected North Korea's proposal to discuss a peace treaty saying Pyongyang should first take steps towards denuclearisation.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Pyongyang has to come back to the six-party talks and take steps towards denuclearisation for peace treaty issue to advance, Xinhua reported.

"If they're willing to live up to those obligations, then we will make progress in those talks," Gibbs said in a media briefing. This is not a step for the US to take, but rather a step for North Korea, he said.

Later in the day, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said the issue in front of North Korea is "saying yes, coming back to the six-party process, and then we can begin to march down the list of issues that we have, beginning with the nuclear issue ... then we are perfectly willing to have other kinds of discussions."

A joint statement agreed by the six-parties -- North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the US in September 2005 -- included establishment of a peace regime and normalisation of relations among all parties concerned must be preceded by denuclearisation.

Pyongyang said it is ready to discuss a peace treaty either in the framework of the six-party talks or in a separate forum to replace the Armistice Agreement that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War. It said the conclusion of the peace treaty would help promote denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.