North Korea says it will not abandon its nuclear weapons program in exchange for an official declaration of the end of the Korean War.

The three-year war that split the communist North and U.S.-backed South Korea ended in 1953 with a truce instead of a peace treaty, leaving the two sides in a technical state of war. The idea of a formal peace treaty has been floated during the recent flurry of diplomatic overtures between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. But the U.S. has rejected the North's demand for a formal declaration ending the war before the regime completely abandons its nuclear weapons program.

In a commentary issued Tuesday by its official news agency, the North rejected the suggestion of a quid pro quo deal, saying a formal peace treaty "is not just a gift from a man to another," and added that "it can never be a bargaining chip for getting the DPRK to denuclearize," using the acronym to the regime's official name.

During his speech to the United Nations last week, North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho told the world body there was "no way" his country would unilaterally disarm as long as the U.S. continues to impose harsh sanctions on the regime.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump signed an agreement during their historic summit in Singapore in June for the North to dismantle its nuclear program. But the two sides are currently at an impasse over North Korea's intentions in ending the program.

Source: Voice of America