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North Korea wants talks with US

Planned high-level talks between North and South Korea were scrapped last week.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivering a speech at the national meeting of light industrial workers in Pyongyang.

SEOUL - North Korea on Sunday offered high-level talks with the United States to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, only days after it cancelled planned official talks with South Korea for the first time in over two years.

Planned high-level talks between North and South Korea were scrapped last week after the North abruptly called off the talks. The North blamed the South for scuttling discussions that sought to mend estranged ties between the rival Koreas.

North Korea National Defence Commission in a statement carried by KCNA news agency on Sunday said Washington can pick a date and place for talks and the two sides can discuss a range of issues, but no preconditions should be attached.

"In order to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and to achieve regional peace and safety, we propose to hold high-level talks between the DPRK and the United States, " said the spokesman for the North's National Defence Commission in the statement. North Korea's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"If the U.S. is truly interested in securing regional peace and safety and easing tensions, it should not mention of preconditions for the talks," the statement said.

The United States has consistently demanded denuclearisation in North Korea as a precondition to any talks.

Washington has been increasingly skeptical of any move by Pyongyang for dialogue as it has repeatedly backtracked on deals, the latest in 2012 when it agreed to a missile and nuclear test moratorium, only to fire a rocket weeks later.

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