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North Korea demands lifting of sanctions

If the United States truly desires dialogue with North Korea, it would lift sanctions against it, according to North Korea's top military body in a statement released on Thursday. North Korea threatened 'the sledge-hammer blow of our army and the people' if its demands are not met. 

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In this file photo, North Korean commuters ride on a trolley car in Pyongyang, North Korea. Reflected in the window is a roadside banner that reads: "Let's follow the example of the space conquerors," referring to the country's rocket launch program. North Korea called on the U.N. to roll back sanctions.

AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, Filer

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North Korea demanded on Thursday the removal of U.N. sanctions imposed for its nuclear and missile tests and a U.S. pledge not to engage in "nuclear war practice" with South Korea if Washington truly sought dialogue.

"If the United States and the puppet South have the slightest desire to avoid the sledge-hammer blow of our army and the people ... and truly wish dialogue and negotiations, they must make the resolute decision," the North's National Defence Commission said in a statement.

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"Firstly, the sanctions resolutions by the U.N. Security Council that were fabricated with unjust reasons must be withdrawn," the North's top military body said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel)