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N. Korea slams U.S. for laying out 'absurd preconditions' for nuclear talks resumption

North Korea on Tuesday blasted the United States for laying out "absurd preconditions" for the resumption of long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks, saying it will never accept them.

In an interview with the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the spokesman for the North's foreign ministry accused Glyn Davies, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, of unreasonably demanding Pyongyang meet its commitments to denuclearize before the six-party talks can resume, while Washington itself had failed to fulfill its obligations.

Visiting South Korea last week as part of his Asian swing, Davies told reporters that the U.S. won't return to the six-party forum without "concrete indications that North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear weapons because that is the primary purpose of the six-party process."

Davies also said, "We are looking for those signs, those strong indications that North Korea is ready to move forward... but so far they are absent."

The North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said Davies' comments proved "that the U.S. remains unchanged in its attitude set to check the resumption of the six-party talks while persisting in absurd preconditions."

"This clearly proved once again that the U.S. has had no interest in the resumption of the six-party talks from the beginning," the spokesman was quoted as saying in the KCNA's English-language report. "The U.S. has not fulfilled the commitments it made at the six-party talks in the past and now rejects the talks by raising the brigandish demand for (North Korea's) unilateral concession first."

The talks, involving the two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, Russia and China, have been dormant since late 2008. The countries have struggled to narrow their differences on preconditions to restart the talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has repeatedly rejected the U.S. call to display its commitment to denuclearize.

The foreign ministry spokesman on Tuesday also charged that the U.S. was trying to "shift the blame" to the North for the stalled six-party talks and said the U.S. should "create an atmosphere for denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula by withdrawing its hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

"We want a negotiated settlement of the issue but will never accede to unreasonable preconditions raised by the U.S.," the spokesman added. "(North Korea) remains unchanged in its goal for the denuclearization of the whole of the Korean Peninsula, but it will be compelled to steadily bolster deterrence as long as the U.S. becomes all the more undisguised in pursuing hostile moves and increasing nuclear threats." (Yonhap News)


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