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The United States has proposed to North Korea a multinational peace agreement on the Korean Peninsula on condition that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear arms program.

The new peace agreement would replace the 1953 truce accord signed by North Korea, the U.S. and China, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.

South Korea refused to sign the accord, meaning it is technically still at war with the North.

“The U.S. made the proposal some time ago,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “But there are still many things to consider, such as how to (verify North Korea’s) abandonment of its nuclear weapons.”

The U.S. reportedly made the proposal during three-way talks that included North Korea and China in April, and again at six-nation talks in August that were held to resolve the North’s nuclear crisis. The other three members at the six-way talks were South Korea, Japan and Russia.

The agreement will be concluded if Pyongyang agrees to abandon its nuclear ambitions and resolves issues on biological and chemical weapons, according to the Japanese daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, which broke the news of the U.S. proposal earlier in the day.

The U.S. is also mapping out a proposal in response to North Korea’s request for a security guarantee.

U.S. President George W. Bush said last month that Washington might give North Korea a written security assurance.

The contents of the proposal are expected to be discussed when U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly visits Japan later this month, the official said.

Kelly will be in Japan at the same time as Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, who will arrive next week to discuss the North Korean issue. Dai is expected to brief his Japanese counterparts about a recent visit to Pyongyang by Wu Bangguo, China’s No. 2 leader.

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