North Korea calls for end to U.S.-South Korea defense treaty

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Saturday. North Korea mentioned a U.S.-South Korean mutual defense treaty in a recent statement following Tillerson's visit. Photo courtesy of U.S. State Department/UPI

Oct. 2 (UPI) — North Korea may be responding indirectly to Rex Tillerson, following remarks from the U.S. secretary of state regarding “direct communication” with Pyongyang.

Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated Monday the United States needs to abolish the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of Korea, signed Oct. 1, 1953, two months after the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement.

Describing the mutual defense treaty as a “scheme to realize the fantasy of North Korea invasion,” North Korea stated the “treaty of war aggression should be abolished without delay.”

“The United States’ reckless plan to invade at discretion is nailed into the mutual defense treaty,” the Rodong statement read. “A serious situation, a tinderbox, where war may break out at any moment, is being created.”

While the statement was issued as a condemnation, North Korea’s reference to a specific treaty could be the regime’s public acknowledgement of Tillerson’s remarks on Saturday.

The top U.S. diplomat said in Beijing the United States has “lines of communications to Pyongyang.”

“We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout,” Tillerson said. “We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang.”

By referring to the U.S.-South Korea defense treaty, North Korea could be signaling its interest in negotiating particular policies or taking preliminary steps by expressing longstanding grudges against Washington, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported Monday.

In a separate statement, North Korea’s national council for reconciliation, a group that targets the South in its messages, condemned the recent introduction of the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act in U.S. Congress.

The council also said it would be “foolish” to expect any results from unilateral U.S. sanctions, Yonhap reported.

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