North Korea says it won't return to nuclear talks

North Korea insisted Monday it won't return to international nuclear disarmament talks as long as the United States sticks to its "hostile policy" aimed at overthrowing the communist regime. The North's Korean Central News Agency issued the statement, condemning the U.S. ambassador to South Korea for labeling the North a "criminal regime" allegedly involved in money laundering, counterfeiting and weapons proliferation.

KCNA called Ambassador Alexander Vershbow a "political rogue" and his remarks a "serious provocation," claiming that his description of the North was evidence that Washington is bent on invading the communist state.

"It's a trite trick for the United States to slander the leadership of other countries and place the criminal hat on them ahead of invading them," KCNA said. "It's our principled stand that we cannot discuss nuclear abandonment unless the United States withdraws its hostile policy toward us."

The latest round of the six-nation nuclear talks took a recess last month. The participants, the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, agreed to meet again, but didn't set a date. The prospect of the talks' resumption has been unclear because of growing tension between the U.S. and the North over Washington's financial sanctions against the communist state. North Korea has demanded the U.S. lifts the sanctions, calling U.S. allegations of the North's involvement in weapons proliferation, money laundering and counterfeiting a "sheer lie."

The U.S. rejected the demand and the North responded with a threat to boycott further nuclear talks, reports the AP. I.L.

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