North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations on Saturday dismissed the possibility of talks with the United States, saying Washington is not showing sincerity about holding dialogue.
Ri Tong-il's remarks come amid a flurry of diplomacy over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. During a summit last week, the leaders of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan agreed to urge the communist nation to give up all of its nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
"It's the U.S. that has no will to hold talks, in whatever form," Ri said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at the U.N.
headquarters in New York.
The envoy particularly took issue with Washington's preconditions for talks, such as Pyongyang's demonstration of its commitment to denuclearize, and the ongoing joint military exercises between Washington and Seoul.
"This isn't the attitude of someone who sincerely wants talks," Ri said.
He also expressed little hope for the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the North in return for political and economic concessions.
The multilateral forum, involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S., was last held in late 2008 before Pyongyang bolted out of the talks in protest of U.N. sanctions against it.
Pyongyang has called for a reopening of the talks, but Seoul and Washington insist the conditions should be right to make substantial progress.
Last week, the envoy warned that his country will take additional "nuclear measures" if the U.S. continues its current approach toward the North. He did not specify what those steps might be. (Yonhap)