MOSCOW, January 10 (Sputnik) — North Korea said on Saturday it wanted to "temporarily" suspend any nuclear tests as long as the United States agrees to cancel all of its annual joint military exercises with South Korea this year, citing the drills as the main reason for tension on the Korean peninsula.
The proposal was passed to the US government through a "relevant channel" on Friday, the North Korean KCNA news agency said.
"(The message) said that in this case the DPRK is ready to take such a responsive step as temporarily suspending the nuclear test over which the U.S. is concerned," KCNA said in the report.
The US has nearly 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea and conducts joint military exercises with its key Asian ally every year. The US and South Korea have stated that the annual drills are defensive, aimed at testing their readiness to confront any possible North Korean aggression.
The agency described the US-South Korean drills as the "root cause" of the tensions on the peninsula and warned that their continuation would rule out any possibility of dialogue.
If Washington asks to hold talks over Pyongyang’s new proposal, the North "is ready to sit with the US anytime", the report said.
North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests – the last in February 2013. Recently, it threatened a fourth test in response to a UN resolution which condemned alleged human rights abuses in the country.
Meanwhile, expert analysis of recent commercial satellite imagery of the North Korean main underground tests site have shown none of the activity associated with a pending detonation, AFP says.