North Korea sets steep conditions for renewing talks with US

Kim Jong Un's regime said it would come back to the table if the U.S. and South Korea permanently end their joint military drills and the United Nations lifts its sanctions, the Agence-France Presse newswire reports. North Korea pulled out of the six-party talks on its nuclear program in 2009.

"We’re open to credible, authentic negotiations, but it’s going to require clear signals from the North Korean regime, clear signals we haven’t seen so far, to live up to their international obligations and to keep their commitments to end their nuclear weapons program," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young called the demands "totally incomprehensible" and "absurd."

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The offer comes as both North Korea and the U.S. have been seeking to calm tensions in recent days after a surge in bellicose rhetoric from the North and a show of force from the Obama administration. Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerrySenators who have felt McCain's wrath talk of their respect for him Dems see huge field emerging to take on Trump Budowsky: Dems need council of war MORE visited China over the weekend to urge the country to pressure its North Korean ally to ratchet down its threats of nuclear war.