WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Thursday renewed its call for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK) to abandon its nuclear program after Pyongyang's fresh appeal for ending hostilities on the Korean Peninsula.
"Our core policy on North Korea remains unchanged," State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters at a regular news briefing.
Washington and its allies, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) , have set Pyongyang's moves to abandon its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear program as a condition to resume the six-party talks, a mechanism also involving Russia and China.
"We'll continue to hold North Korea to these commitments and its international obligations, and of course as you know, we won't accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state," Psaki said. "But the ball remains in their court and they haven't taken any steps to change the views of the international community on this issue."
The DPRK's National Defense Commission on Thursday called for a halt of verbal and military provocation between Pyongyang and Seoul, and urged practical measures to be taken to prevent a " nuclear disaster" on the peninsula.
Also on Thursday, the ROK's Defense Ministry said that its annual joint military drills with the United States, known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, will proceed as planned starting late February, ignoring Pyongyang's demand for cancellation a day earlier.
"Key Resolve and Foal Eagle will be carried out as scheduled," ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters. "If North Korea makes military provocation citing our normal military exercises, our military will sternly and ruthlessly retaliate against such provocation."