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NKorea rejects US nuclear deal as 'nonsense'

North Korea on Thursday spurned US offers of a package of incentives in return for scrapping its nuclear weapons programme, saying it could never trade security for cash.

world Updated: Jul 23, 2009 16:52 IST

North Korea on Thursday spurned US offers of a package of incentives in return for scrapping its nuclear weapons programme, saying it could never trade security for cash.

The North, at a briefing on the sidelines of the The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, also described six-party nuclear disarmament talks as dead and urged the United States to drop its "hostile" policy.

The defiant response came in a Korean-language briefing by Ri Hung-Sik, director-general of the foreign ministry's international organisation bureau, which was later translated by AFP.

Ri attacked Washington's "deep-rooted hostile policy" and vowed no dialogue until it changes.

In return for the North's "irreversible denuclearisation," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week that the United States and its partners will move forward on a package of economic incentives and opportunities including normalising relations.

"Hearing about the comprehensive package, I should say this is basically nonsense," Ri said.

"This is just a repeat of the Bush administration's policy of CVID (complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement). Who will trade security and sovereignty for a small amount of money?" he said, blaming the current crisis on what he called US hostility.

"The six-party talks are already dead," Ri said, referring to long-running negotiations involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

"The United States must abandon its hostile policy immediately, then talks would be possible."

Clinton urged Southeast Asian and other nations at the security forum to enforce United Nations (UN) sanctions imposed against the North for its nuclear and missile tests.

"The United States will continue to work through every avenue to persuade North Korea to eliminate its nuclear programme and normalise relations with the world," she told the meeting.

North Korea quit the six-party talks and vowed to restart its nuclear programme after the UN Security Council censured it for a long-range rocket launch in April.

In May it staged its second nuclear test and it has also test-fired an array of short and medium-range missiles.

"How could the US talk about a package deal without abandoning its hostile policy and guaranteeing security and peace for us?" Ri said.

"We don't object to dialogue with the US. However, we cannot talk with anyone who hides a knife in his pocket."

Ri also dismissed the UN sanctions, saying his country had been under sanctions for half a century.