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US confirms it rejected North Korean peace treaty proposal

The State Department has said it rejected an offer from Pyongyang to bring a formal end to the Korean War. North Korea's nuclear buildup remains an ongoing concern for the US and its ally South Korea.

State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed on Sunday that North Korea had sent the US a proposal for a peace treaty for the Korean Peninsula, but said that the US had rejected the offer when Pyongyang refused to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Kirby's statement came in response to a question regarding a Wall Street Journal article, which had reported that the White House had agreed to clandestine peace talks with Pyongyang.

According to the report, the Obama Administration dropped one of its key conditions: that North Korea eliminate its nuclear arsenal as a precondition for peace talks to begin.

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No end to conflict in sight

"To be clear, it was the North Koreans who proposed discussing a peace treaty," Kirby said in Jordan, where he was traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry.

"We carefully considered their proposal, and made clear that denuclearization had to be part of any such discussion. The North rejected our response," he said.

Tensions have

ramped up

between the international community and Pyongyang in recent weeks. On January 16, North Korea

claimed

it had tested a hydrogen bomb.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice. North Korea has pushed for a peace treaty to be signed between Pyongyang, Washington, Seoul and Beijing.

blc/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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