The US government secretly agreed to talks with North Korea aimed at formally ending the Korean War just days before Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The talks were offered despite a longstanding condition that North Korea first move to cut its nuclear arsenal. Instead the nuclear weapons program was to be part of the talks, the Journal said in its Monday edition.
The 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice, but no formal peace treaty.
The US State Department acknowledged the exchange, insisting that it was in accordance with US goals.
“To be clear, it was the North Koreans who proposed discussing a peace treaty,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told the Journal.
“We carefully considered their proposal, and made clear that denuclearization had to be part of any such discussion,” said Kirby. He said the North rejected this.
“Our response to the North Korean proposal was consistent with our longstanding focus on denuclearization,” Kirby said.