The Obama administration calls it an “implicit threat” and said North Korean was linking two things that have nothing to do with each other.
“A new nuclear test would be a clear violation of North Korea's obligations under multiple UN Security Council resolutions,” Psaki said.
The North Korean official KCNA news agency reported that the message went to the U.S. through a “relevant channel” and that it was calling on Washington to suspend any joint military exercises with South Korea as a way to help ease tensions in the area.
KCNA added that North Korea is “ready to sit down with the United States at any time” to talk about the new proposal.
North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests, the last one in early 2013, and recently talked about conducting a fourth one in response to a United Nations resolution criticizing the country’s human rights record.
But Psaki said that while the Obama administration is “open to dialogue” with North Korea, those talks would focus on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and certainly not on anything temporary.
"We call on the DPRK (North Korea) to immediately cease all threats, reduce tensions, and take the necessary steps toward denuclearization needed to resume credible negotiations," she told reporters.
The United States and South Korea conduct joint military exercises every year and 30,000 U.S. troops are permanently stationed in South Korea.
Pyongyang calls the drills dress rehearsals for an invasion, but Psaki says they are “transparent, defense-oriented, and have been carried out regularly and opening for roughly 40 years.”