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    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) smiles as he guides a test fire of a new multiple launch rocket system in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 4, 2016

    North Korean Nuclear Rhetoric Against US May Be a Request for Talks

    © REUTERS / KCNA
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    North Korea’s heightened nuclear rhetoric against the United States and its allies may signal a desire to reengage in nuclear talks, Japanese member of the International Atomic Energy Agency Nobumasa Akiyama told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Over the weekend, a source at the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that North Korea would like to hold talks with the United States, noting that Pyongyang has conducted its recent missile tests in response to a US rejection of talks.

    "North Koreans, although they are trying to escalate in their messages against the United States… in my opinion, signal for a request for dialogue," Akiyama said on Monday.

    Akiyama noted that the reports from the Russian government are likely "a true signal," but questioned whether both sides of the potential nuclear talks are "really ready to discuss with some specific idea" the modalities of an nuclear agreement with North Korea.

    "So far, it is going to be very difficult for us to… acknowledge the North Korean nuclear weapon capabilities. And on their side, definitely they are not going to give up [their nuclear weapons]," Akiyama stated.

    Since the start of 2016, North Korea has tested a nuclear device, followed by a series of short and medium-range rocket launches, and a long-range missile test. In response to Pyongyang’s actions, the UN Security Council imposed harsh sanctions on North Korea in February, followed by additional sanctions by the United States.

    North Korea had been engaged in nuclear talks up through 2009 under the Six Party framework, involving Russia, China, South Korea, Japan and the United States. The talks were aimed at ensuring a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula.

    Pyongyang tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006.

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    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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