North Korea rejects US invitation to meet without preconditions
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North Korea rejects US invitation to meet without preconditions

PYONGYANG has openly snubbed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s proposal for dialogue with Washington, stating that it will not give up its nuclear weapons programme.

A commentary piece published by the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea’s mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday read: “there is no change in our stance that we will not budge an inch in our march toward strengthening our nuclear force.”

Last week, Tillerson said “we’re ready to have the first meeting without preconditions.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Let’s just meet’: US ready for talks with North Korea, no pre-conditions

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Tillerson delivers remarks to members of the press after a meeting about North Korea’s nuclear programme at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, US, on Dec 15, 2017. Source: Reuters/Stephanie Keith

“It’s not realistic to say we’re only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your programme,” said Tillerson, before later stating that the North should halt “threatening behaviour” before any meeting could take place.

“The US is trying to shift responsibility for tensions on the Korean Peninsula to us with its dialogue offensive,” continued the Rodong Sinmun piece, as quoted by South Korea’s state news agency Yonhap.

“The move is seen as being intended to set the tone for manipulating new UN Security Council resolutions that may include a maritime blockade if we do not accept dialogue aimed at discussing the abandonment of our nuclear weapons.”

The United Nations has imposed many wide-ranging economic sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions.

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US and South Korean troops utilizing the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and South Korea’s Hyunmoo Missile II, fire missiles into the waters of the East Sea, off South Korea, on July 5, 2017. Source: 8th United States Army/Handout via Reuters

SEE ALSO: No war: Kim Jong Un and Trump just ‘love control’, says Dennis Rodman

Tensions have once again escalated on the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang in November tested its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to date which it says can reach the mainland United States.

On Tuesday, the UN adopted a resolution for the 13th straight year which called upon North Korea’s regime to end human rights abuses in the country.

The US and South Korea have been conducting their largest ever combat drills as part of the annual “Vigilant Ace” exercises. A total of 230 aircraft, including a range of the US military’s most advanced stealth warplanes, are featured in the exercises.