SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea has accused the United States of counterfeiting its own currency to fabricate evidence that the communist state is engaged in manufacturing fake U.S. hundred dollar bills.
North Korean police said late Wednesday that authorities have obtained "shocking information" the CIA hired counterfeit experts to produce fake currencies at U.S. military bases worldwide.
"They let these notes find their way to the DPRK and go out of it in the course of commercial transaction in a desperate bid to term it 'producer of counterfeit notes,'" the North's Ministry of People's Security said in the statement, carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.
DPRK stands for the North's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The United States has accused of the North of manufacturing and circulating fake $100 bills, one of the illegal activities allegedly carried out by Pyongyang that has prompted Washington to slap financial sanctions against the communist state.
North Korea has called the accusations a "sheer lie" and pledged it won't return to six-nation talks on its nuclear program unless the sanctions are lifted.
Washington has urged the North to come back to the negotiating table without conditions, saying the financial restrictions are a law enforcement matter unrelated to the nuclear issue.
The North's police also claimed the CIA is orchestrating production and circulation of photos and video footage of staged scenes to support its claim the communist state is engaged in manufacturing drugs and other illegal activities.
The Korean-language version of the statement said the North apprehended a group of unidentified "foreign criminals" who sneaked into the country to film a "nonexistent drug factory" in North Korea in return for a large sum of money. It didn't provide details, including who might have commissioned them.
"Forces hostile to the DPRK including those in the U.S. and Japan are working hard to fabricate what they call 'evidence' and 'proofs' by employing every conceivable means and despicable method to brand the DPRK as a 'criminal state' and 'lawless state' over 'human rights abuse,' 'drug smuggling' and 'counterfeit notes,'" the North's statement said.
The nuclear talks, involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States, last took place in November and have since been on hold because the North disputes the U.S. sanctions.