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N Korea says no nuke talks under US pressure

Written by: Staff

Seoul, Apr 24: North Korea will not return to stalled six-party talks on its nuclear programmes unless the United States ends financial curbs, official media said today.

Washington has accused Pyongyang of boycotting the talks and said its crackdown on firms it suspects of aiding North Korean counterfeiting, money laundering and drug trafficking is a separate issue.

North Korea has criticised the crackdown before. today's comment was the first significant statement from the North on the financial measures since US President George W Bush met Chinese President Hu Jintao last week in Washington when they touched on the nuclear stalemate.

The signed commentary was on the North's KCNA news agency and carried by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

China is North Korea's main benefactor and last remaining key ally. The United States has asked China to use its influence to help persuade North Korea to return to the table.

''The US sanctions against us are the deterrent for the resumption of the six-party talks,'' Yonhap reported KCNA as saying in a commentary.

An English-language version of the report was not immediately available.

The United States has repeatedly denied it has imposed sanctions on the North.

The participants in the nuclear talks -- the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia -- agreed in principle in September that Pyongyang would dismantle its nuclear programmes in exchange for aid, security assurances and improved diplomatic ties.

But the last session in November ended without progress.


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