SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea accused the United States on Tuesday of failing to meet its commitments toward the communist nation, blaming Washington for the slow progress in a nuclear disarmament deal.
The North's Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary that the U.S. failed to fulfill its promise to remove Pyongyang from U.S. terrorism and trade blacklists by the end of 2007 under a six-nation agreement that calls for the North's nuclear disarmament in exchange for aid and concessions.
"Under this situation, it is pretty evident that we cannot carry out our commitments unilaterally," the commentary said, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. "If the U.S. truly intends to move the Korean peninsula denuclearization forward, all it should do is be sincere about its own commitments."
The North has repeatedly cited U.S. delays as the reason it has failed to meet its own requirements in the February nuclear deal, which included disabling nuclear facilities and providing list of all its nuclear programs by the end of last year.
Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul could not immediately be reached for comment.
North Korea claims it gave the U.S. a complete list of its nuclear programs in November. Washington says Pyongyang never produced a "complete and correct" nuclear programs list.
Still, U.S. officials have said the disarmament deal is not at risk and that it can progress, even though North Korea missed the year-end deadline.
A key sticking point is the abiding U.S. suspicion that the North pursued a uranium-based atomic bomb program — an allegation the North denied, sparking the nuclear standoff in late 2002.
The newspaper also accused American "hard-line conservative forces" of trying to "stifle" North Korea.
"We have never flinched or ducked our heads in front of U.S. confrontational policy. We have responded to hard-line U.S. policy with super hard-line policy," it said. "The Korean peninsula denuclearization process can move forward only when the U.S. sincerely carries out its commitments."