North Korea has called for peace talks with the United States and an end to sanctions as a condition for resuming international talks aimed at its denuclearization.
North Korea's Foreign Ministry, in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, said that in order to build trust between North Korea and the United States "it is essential to conclude a peace treaty" to replace the ceasefire which ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea pulled out of the six-party nuclear talks -- which also involve South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States -- a year ago. The talks are aimed at ending the North's nuclear program in exchange for aid.
The United States says it can start talks on a peace deal once the North ends its nuclear program.
The newly appointed U.S. envoy for human rights in North Korea, Robert King, today said North Korean authorities have to improve the "appalling" human rights situation in the country before they can expect normal relations with the United States.