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North Korea demands lifting of sanctions as condition for US dialogue

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) claps during the unveiling ceremony of two statues of former leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang.(AFP Photo / Ed Jones)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) claps during the unveiling ceremony of two statues of former leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang.(AFP Photo / Ed Jones)

North Korea has named its conditions for talks with the US – the removal of all U.N. sanctions following Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests, and a promise by Washington not to engage in ‘nuclear war practice’ with Seoul.

North Korea said the Thursday demands will have to be fulfilled if Washington truly seeks any meaningful dialogue with Pyongyang.

“If the United States and the puppet South have the slightest desire to avoid the sledge-hammer blow of our army and the people… and truly wish dialogue and negotiations, they must make the resolute decision,” the North’s National Defense Commission said in a statement.

“Firstly, the sanctions resolutions by the U.N. Security Council that were fabricated with unjust reasons must be withdrawn,” the North’s top military body said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The latest standoff between North Korea and the US – backed by South Korea – has been going on since Pyongyang’s third missile test in February of this year. A third round of UN sanctions adopted in response was then followed by joint US-South Korean war games in the waters of the Korean Peninsula.

An exchange of threats has been taking place, including Pyongyang’s promise to wage nuclear war on the US and its bases in the Pacific and South Korea. The US for its part deployed its F-22 fighter jets and the ‘USS Fitzgerald’ destroyer into Korean waters, further escalating tensions.

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