Lift sanctions for N-talks to resume: N Korea to US

The US must renounce its "hostile policy" for talks aimed at North Korea's nuclear disarmament to resume, Pyongyang said.

world Updated: Jan 09, 2006 09:10 IST

The United States must lift sanctions and renounce its "hostile policy" for talks aimed at North Korea's nuclear disarmament to resume, Pyongyang said on Monday.

"Under the present situation it is illogical to discuss with the US, the assailant, the issue of dismantling the nuclear deterrent built up by the DPRK for self-defence," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

DPRK refers to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

The statement by an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman is the latest in a series from the tightly controlled country -- and comes from the highest-ranking source -- that suggests the nuclear negotiation process is unlikely to move forward anytime soon.

"The financial sanctions against the DPRK are an issue directly related to the six-party talks," the statement said, referring to negotiations with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States that began in 2003.

"This is quite understandable to anyone, if he has elementary thinking ability," it said. "It is only the United States that pretends not to know about this."

Washington says the sanctions are separate from the nuclear negotiations. North Korea denies the US allegations of wrongdoing and says US emphasis on the nuclear issue and on human rights abuses in the North show that the United States wants to the North's regime overthrown.

"The key to solving the issue is for the US to renounce its hostile policy towards the DPRK and opt for coexistence with the latter," the statement said.

"The US should lift the sanctions ... if it is truly interested in the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and hopes for the progress of the talks."

In September, Washington slapped sanctions on a Macau-based bank, alleging it helped the North distribute counterfeit currency and engage in other illicit activities.

The next month, the US sanctioned eight North Korean companies it claimed were fronts for proliferating weapons of mass destruction.

In what was hailed as a major breakthrough, the North pledged in September at the nuclear talks in Beijing to give up its atomic programs in return for aid and security assurances. But the communist country immediately placed new conditions on its disarmament, such as demanding nuclear reactors for power generation.

The US called them unacceptable, and no further progress has been made.

The last session of the talks recessed in November. Negotiators agreed to meet again, but did not set a date.

First Published: Jan 09, 2006 08:58 IST