UNITED NATIONS, New York: North Korea’s foreign minister told the United Nations on Thursday that a peace treaty was urgently needed to prevent a repeat of the military standoff that rattled Asia two months ago.
Tensions soared on the Korean peninsula in August following a rare exchange of cross-border fire that also saw North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un put his frontline troops on war-footing.
“Having gone through the August incident that made northeast Asia and the entire world hold their breadth in anxiety, it has become a crucial issue today to replace the armistice agreement with a peace treaty with no further delay,” Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong told the UN General Assembly.
Ri said replacing the 1950-1953 armistice with a permanent peace accord “requires the bold decision of the United States before anyone else.”
“It is high time for the United States to come up with the signing of a peace treaty,” said the foreign minister, adding that North Korea was ready to enter talks.
North Korea has made overtures to the United States in the past, putting the onus on Washington to make a gesture to open up a dialogue.
Washington maintains that any dialogue with Pyongyang would include discussions on its nuclear program and human rights.
Ri also blasted the United Nations as “no more than a toll which can be abused by the United States” after a UN commission of inquiry concluded that the Pyongyang regime was committing widespread rights abuses.
The 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a truce but not a peace treaty, which means that the two Koreas technically remain at war.
Ri also met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said a series of agreements reached to end the standoff could pave the way to improved dialogue.
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said the United Nations was ready to help to facilitate dialogue.