North Korea quietly reached out to U.S. officials through the United Nations in New York last fall to propose formal peace talks on ending the Korean War, a response to President Barack Obama’s comments that the U.S. was willing to engage Pyongyang as it has with other rogue regimes, senior U.S. officials told CNN.
That effort fell short, the officials said, with the North Koreans refusing to include their nuclear program in any negotiations as the U.S. required and soon after testing a nuclear weapon.
But it represented a new step from the Obama administration as it tried to lure the hermetic country out of its isolation and extend its track record of successful negotiations with nations long at odds with the United States, such as Iran and Cuba.
The U.S. told North Korea it was willing to discuss a formal peace to replace the 63-year-old armistice that ended hostilities after the Korean War, but only if efforts to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear program were part of the discussions.In doing so, the administration dropped a longstanding demand that North Korea take steps toward “denuclearization” before talks on a formal peace treaty began. Still, the North Koreans refused to allow the nuclear issue to be part of any talks.