President Barack Obama has rejected North Korea’s proposal to halt nuclear tests if the US ceases its annual military exercises with South Korea.
On April 24, Barack Obama told reporters that the US did not take such a proposal seriously and that Pyongyang would “have to do better than that”.
North Korean foreign minister Ri Su-yong made the offer in a rare interview.
Ri Su-yong’s comments came as North Korea said it fired a ballistic missile from a submarine off its eastern coast.
The UN condemned the test, which it called a “serious violation” of past resolutions aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
International sanctions have been stepped up in the wake of several controversial nuclear and missile tests by North Korea.
The latest allegedly took place last week, with North Korea claiming to have used “cold launch” technology to fire a missile from a submarine, where it is expelled using gas pressure.
North Korea also conducted its fourth nuclear test with a hydrogen bomb in January sparking worldwide condemnation, and claimed last month that it has developed nuclear warheads small enough to fit on ballistic missiles, though experts have disputed such claims.
Analysts believe that North Korea may be gearing up for a fifth nuclear test as a show of strength ahead of the Workers’ Party Congress, the first since 1980.