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DPRK lists conditions for talks amid tensions

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-18 11:26

PYONGYANG - The powerful defense commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday urged Washington and Seoul to stop provocations, part of conditions laid out by Pyongyang for restoring talks amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The commission also demanded the United States and South Korea fully apologize for their aggressions, and give assurances not to carry out nuclear war games designed to intimidate the DPRK, according to the official KCNA news agency.

It also urged Washington and Seoul to withdraw nuclear weapons stationed in and around South Korea, and refrain from redeploying them, if they want to reopen negotiations with Pyongyang.

The statement followed months of super tensions on the Korean Peninsula after the United Nations Security Council imposed fresh sanctions against Pyongyang last month after it conducted a third nuclear test in February.

The United States and South Korea have since carried out intensive war games in and around South Korea, including sending B-52 strategic heavy bombers and B-2 stealth bombers to South Korea, apparently in a show of force.

These moves have led the DPRK to make repeated threats of war, which spooked many in and outside the region.

The statement noted that the United States and South Korea have expressed the willingness to defuse the crisis through negotiations and diplomatic efforts, but it blasted Washington and Seoul for setting preconditions for restarting talks with Pyongyang.

It rebuked assertions made by Washington and Seoul that blamed the so-called "provocations" and "threats" of the DPRK as an obstacle in reopening negotiations.

China, a close neighbor of Korean Peninsula, has long called on all sides to exercise restraint and stop tit-for-tat strategies to avoid further escalations of the situation.

Amid festering tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese leaders have warned against stirring chaos at their country's doorsteps.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Saturday that troublemaking on the Korean Peninsula issue would harm the interests of all the parties involved.

"To do that is nothing different from lifting a rock only to drop it on one's own toes," Li said in his meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

"The parties involved should shoulder their responsibilities and be ready to bear the consequence to safeguard the regional peace and stability," Li added.

The statement also said the situation on Korean Peninsula is directly linked with the peace and stability in northeast Asia and the world, and the DPRK's military and its people will closely monitor the future actions by the United States and its "followers."

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