NEW YORK, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- North Korea's foreign minister urged the United States to sign a peace treaty that could prevent future wars on the Korean peninsula.
Ri Su Yong told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday the escalation of tensions in August between North and South exposed the fragility of truce between the two sides, and that the United States can no longer delay a peace agreement with Pyongyang, South Korean news network YTN reported.
"With the current armistice, peace on the Korean peninsula can no longer be maintained," Ri said, according to Yonhap.
The North Korean diplomat said the United States must make a "courageous decision" on this issue, and that the time has come for Washington to pursue a peace treaty.
"If the United States agrees to replace the armistice with a peace treaty, North Korea is willing to enter into constructive dialogue, to prevent war and conflict on the Korean peninsula," Ri said in translation.
Washington has said it is open to dialogue but on the condition that Pyongyang commits to denuclearization, but North Korea has said satellite launches and nuclear deterrence are within the rights of its national sovereignty, a "legitimate right that no one can infringe upon."
On Thursday, Ri made a similar statement and said more than 10 countries have launched satellites, but the U.N. Security Council has only targeted North Korea through an "illegal resolution."
According to Ri, "Nine countries globally have developed nuclear weapons, and carried out 2,000 nuclear tests, but North Korea alone has been banned from tests just after three trials."
Ri said any outside pressure on North Korea after future satellite launches would be met with a strong response to uphold the dignity of the North Korean state.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office said Ban met with Ri on Thursday. Yonhap reported the U.N. chief said he hoped for more dialogue and exchange between Seoul and Pyongyang.