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North Korea sets preconditions for talks' restart

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April 17, 2013 11:38 PM EST | AP


PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea is calling for the withdrawal of U.N. sanctions and the end of U.S.-South Korea military drills as preconditions for the resumption of talks.

Thursday's statement from the National Defense Commission, the country's top governing body, came four days after Pyongyang rejected Seoul's dialogue offer, saying it lacked sincerity. The U.S. says it is prepared to talk to the North but Pyongyang must first bring down tensions and honor previous disarmament agreements.

The North's statement says "dialogue can never go with war actions."

In recent weeks, North Korea has ratcheted up tension on the divided peninsula, threatening to attack the U.S. and South Korea over the military drills and sanctions imposed for its February nuclear test. Pyongyang calls the annual drills a rehearsal for invasion.