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N Korea at crossroads

North Korea says US proposes to have talks in December

Proposal was through a third nation, the statement says

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- North Korea has received a proposal by the United States to hold talks again in December, according to a statement carried Thursday by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The statement, however, criticized the United States for making the proposal through a third nation, saying Washington is seeking a "sinister aim of appeasing us in a bid to pass the time limit -- the end of this year."

"If the U.S. side has found a solution to be presented to us, it can just explain it to us directly," Kim Myong Gil, who has led North Korea's negotiations with the United States, said in the statement.

"But I intuitively feel that the U.S. is not ready to give a satisfactory answer to us and its proposal for dialogue with us is a trick to earn time through the orchestration of DPRK-U.S. meeting," Kim added.

DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The statement did not mention which country conveyed the U.S. proposal to North Korea.

North Korea, which has pledged to achieve denuclearization since last year, has recently warned it may restart nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests unless negotiations with the United States move forward by the end of this year.

The United States and North Korea held a working-level meeting in Stockholm in early October, but it ended without progress. Kim said the talks broke down as Washington came to the negotiation "empty-handed."

"Now that we have already informed the U.S. side of our requirements and priority matters, the ball is in the U.S. court," Kim said in the statement on Thursday.

Washington and Pyongyang technically remain in a state of war after the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a cease-fire. The two countries have no diplomatic relations.

In recent months, North Korea has test-fired new weapons considered to be short-range ballistic missiles in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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