SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea blamed the United States for the deadlock in their nuclear negotiations, warning Friday that the Americans' attitude could "gravely" affect ongoing disablement of its atomic facilities.
The North's Foreign Ministry said the communist nation had done its best to clear U.S. suspicions that it pursued a uranium-based atomic bomb program and also transferred nuclear technology to Syria, but Washington was sticking to its "wrong" claims.
"The United States is clinging to shabby magic to make us a criminal in order to save face," the ministry said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
"If the United States keeps delaying the resolution of the nuclear issue ... it could gravely affect disablement of nuclear facilities," it said.
The North agreed last year to shut down and disable its sole functioning nuclear reactor and other atomic facilities, and to fully declare all its nuclear programs by the end of last year in exchange for aid and political concessions.
Negotiations on further steps have stalled, however, as the U.S. accused Pyongyang of not giving a full account of its nuclear programs. Despite that impasse, disablement work has continued although the North says the process has slowed.
North Korea has claimed it gave the U.S. a nuclear list in November. But Washington has said the North never produced a "complete and correct" list that would address all its past atomic activity.