SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea on Monday accused the United States of obstructing nuclear disarmament talks by alleging that the communist regime is involved in counterfeiting and drug trafficking.
The North has refused to resume the six-nation talks on ending its nuclear ambitions since November, demanding that Washington lift financial restrictions imposed on a Macau bank and North Korean companies for alleged complicity in counterfeiting and money laundering.
"The basic stumbling block to resumption of the six-party talks and resolution of the nuclear issue is the United States' hostile policy toward North Korea," the North's communist party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said in a commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
"Every time there are signs of progress at the six-party talks, the U.S. has created obstacles ... with fabricated problems of human rights, currency counterfeiting and drug trafficking," the newspaper said.
"It is clear that while the U.S. talks about resuming six-party talks on the surface, in reality, it has no interest" in resolving the nuclear issue, it said.
U.S. and North Korean officials met in New York last week over the U.S. restrictions but failed to produce any breakthrough. Washington says the financial actions are separate from the nuclear talks.
South Korea, meanwhile, dispatched its top nuclear envoy, Chun Young-woo, to Japan on Monday for talks on how to jump-start the stalled nuclear negotiations.
Also Monday, Russia's top diplomat in South Korea called for the U.S. and North Korea to seek a compromise to resolve the issue.
"Both sides may need more flexibility in approach," Ambassador Gleb Ivashentsov told foreign correspondents in Seoul.
In September, the North pledged to give up its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees, but no progress has since been made since then on implementing the agreement. The nuclear talks involve the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the United States.