File Photo: North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. (Reuters Photo)
Seoul, South Korea:
North Korea said Saturday it had offered to "temporarily" suspend any future nuclear test if the United States cancels its annual joint military drills with South Korea this year.
The government proposal was passed to the US side through a "relevant channel" on Friday, the North's official KCNA news agency said.
The message called on Washington to help ease tensions on the Korean peninsula by suspending all of this year's joint military exercises in South Korea "and its vicinity".
For its part, North Korea "is ready to take such a responsive step as temporarily suspending the nuclear test over which the US is concerned," the proposal said.
The United States, which has close to 30,000 troops permanently stationed in South Korea, conducts a series of joint military exercises with its Asian ally every year.
Seoul and Washington insist the drills are defensive in nature, but they are regularly condemned by Pyongyang as provocative rehearsals for invasion.
The annual exercises habitually raise military tensions between the two Koreas, who have remained technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty.