North Korea willing to halt missile tests, with conditions: report

North Korea willing to halt missile tests, with conditions: report
© Getty Images

North Korea is open to temporarily halting its nuclear and missile tests should the United States agree to several demands, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

North Korea Ambassador to India Kye Chun-yong on Wednesday said Pyongyang is willing to employ a conditional moratorium on the country's tests should the United States come to the negotiating table.

“If our demands is met, we can negotiate in terms of the moratorium of such as weapons testing,” Kye said in English in an interview posted on the website of WION, a television station in India.

ADVERTISEMENT
One demand could be halting U.S. and South Korean joint military drills. North Korea has called the drills an invasion rehearsal while Seoul and Washington argue the annual exercises are routine defensive preparations.

South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, said in an interview with CBS News that his country does not plan to scale back joint military exercises with Washington.

North Korea has agreed to temporarily halt its missile and nuclear tests in the past. In February 2012, it did so in exchange for food aid from Washington.

That deal did not last long, however, with North Korea two months later unsuccessfully attempting to launch what it claimed was a rocket to put a satellite into orbit.

But the United States may be willing to negotiate this time around, as tensions between the two countries have escalated with a rapid succession of missile tests by the North over the past six months.

North Korea floated the stipulations as the United States on Tuesday detected activity at an underground site in the country used to test nuclear weapons.

And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday host Chinese leaders at the State Department to discuss the country.