SEOUL — North Korea said Monday it wants a peace treaty with the United States as a precondition for giving up its nuclear weapons, and called for sanctions to be scrapped before it returns to disarmament talks.
The foreign ministry statement was the first time the North has publicly stated its position on the disarmament negotiations since US envoy Stephen Bosworth visited Pyongyang last month.
Bosworth was trying to persuade the communist state to return to the six-nation talks it abandoned last April, a month before staging a second nuclear test. No clear agreement was reached.
The statement said it was "good to move up the order of action" in light of the failure of the six-party talks.
"The conclusion of the peace treaty will help terminate the hostile relations between the DPRK (North Korea) and the US and positively promote the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula at a rapid tempo," it said.
Six-party agreements reached in 2005 and 2007 envisage talks on a treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, but only in return for full denuclearisation.
The North said talks on a peace pact could be held either at a separate forum or in the framework of the six-party talks which group the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.
"The removal of the barrier of such discrimination and distrust as sanctions may soon lead to the opening of the six-party talks," its statement said. (AFP)