N Korea proposes top level talks with US
North Korea's top governing body yesterday proposed high-level nuclear and security talks with the United States in an appeal sent just days after calling off talks with rival South Korea.
The powerful National Defense Commission headed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a statement through state media proposing "senior-level" talks to ease tensions and discuss a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War.
There was no immediate response from Washington, but President Barack Obama's envoy on North Korea said Friday that while the US is not averse to talking with Pyongyang, the bar for resuming engagement is higher in the wake of repeated nuclear threats and provocations.
Foreign analysts expressed skepticism, saying impoverished North Korea often calls for talks after raising tensions with provocative behavior in order to win outside concessions.
The rare proposal for talks between the Korean War foes follows months of acrimony over North Korea's defiant launch of a long-range rocket in December and a nuclear test in February, provocative acts that drew tightened UN and US sanctions. The US and South Korea countered the moves by stepping up annual springtime military exercises that prompted North Korea to warn of a "nuclear war" on the Korean Peninsula.
However, as tensions subsided in May and June, Pyongyang has made tentative overtures to re-establish dialogue with South Korea and Washington.