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North Korea hints at nuclear test moratorium via The Japan Times

North Korea has told the United States that it’s willing to impose a temporary moratorium on nuclear tests if Washington scraps planned military drills with South Korea this year, the North’s official news agency said Saturday.

The reported proposal comes at a time of tensions between North Korea and the U.S. over a Sony movie depicting an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The U.S. blames the North for crippling hacking attacks on Sony Pictures and subsequently imposed new sanctions on the country, inviting an angry response from Pyongyang, which has denied responsibility for the cyberattacks.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the government proposed to the U.S. what it calls a “crucial step” to ease animosities and remove the danger of war, prompted by desires to pave the way for a reunification with South Korea this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the rivals’ division.

The message “proposed the U.S. to contribute to easing tension on the Korean Peninsula by temporarily suspending joint military exercises in South Korea and its vicinity this year, and said that in this case (North Korea) is ready to take such responsive step as temporarily suspending the nuclear test over which the U.S. is concerned,” KCNA’s report said. “Now is the time for the U.S. to make a bold decision for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.”

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