SEOUL, May 29 (RIA Novosit) - Wednesday’s edition of Rodong Sinmun, an official paper of North Korea’s ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), has published an article calling for the replacement of the Korean War armistice deal with Seoul by a formal peace treaty, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
The paper, which effectively reflects the view of the ruling party and its leadership, said there was "a pressing need to replace the Armistice Agreement, which is a relic of the war, with a permanent peace regime."
The article states that the armistice treaty, signed at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, benefits only the United States, and Washington's move to hold onto the deal reflects its desire “to stifle the DPRK by force.”
"If the peace regime was created in the past, the current standoff over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would not have become a problem in the first place," the article reads.
The statement comes a day after North Korea announced it would not give up its nuclear deterrent capability amid “continuing U.S. threats.”
Tensions rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula in December last year after North Korea tested a Taepodong 2 missile and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test.
The UN Security Council imposed new sanctions against the reclusive Communist state over the tests, the United States and South Korea began joint military exercises in March, and Seoul warned of possible preemptive strikes against its northern neighbor.
That triggered a belligerent reaction from Pyongyang, which declared an end to its truce with South Korea; denounced all denuclearization agreements to which it was a signatory; cut off an emergency hotline to Seoul; threatened to attack US bases in Okinawa, Guam and Pearl Harbor; closed the Kaesong industrial zone it runs jointly with South Korea; reportedly moved two ballistic missiles to its southern border; and urged the evacuation of all foreigners from both Koreas.
However, Pyongyang seemed to soften its belligerent stance this month when it lifted the highest combat alert for its armed forces and withdrew ballistic missiles from their launch sites in the east.
During his visit to China last week, a special envoy for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Choe Ryong Hae, said that Pyongyang was ready to return to six-party talks on its controversial nuclear program.