U.S. diplomat rebukes North Korea over demand for negotiations on sanctions | VailDaily.com

U.S. diplomat rebukes North Korea over demand for negotiations on sanctions

SEOUL, South Korea – The United States delivered a stern public rebuke to North Korea on Wednesday, ruling out any negotiations over financial sanctions imposed on the communist state.The tough talk came one day after North Korea threatened to boycott six-nation talks on eliminating its nuclear weapons programs unless Washington lifts the sanctions imposed in October.Washington “is not going to negotiate over economic sanctions that have been imposed in accordance with U.S. law.,” U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Vershbow said in a speech. “It’s up to North Korea to end the behavior that led to those sanctions.”The United States targeted eight North Korean companies it said acted as fronts for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The United States also suspects North Korea of counterfeiting and money-laundering.North Korea vehemently denies the allegations.Sanctions were imposed because the North engaged in the “export of dangerous military technology, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, the counterfeiting of U.S. currency and many other illicit activities,” Vershbow said.”Our enforcement of U.S. law should not be used to hold up the six-party talks.”The North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper made the threat to suspend participation in the six-party talks in a commentary carried Tuesday by the official Korean Central News Agency.”It is impossible to resume the six-party talks under such provocative sanctions applied by the U.S.” on North Korea, the commentary said.A top Japanese government official said the threat was “not constructive.”Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said North Korea’s complaints about U.S. financial sanctions on the communist country have nothing to do with the broader nuclear talks and should not be used to obstruct them.”The North Korean position is bringing up a problem that is outside the framework of the six-party talks and is not constructive,” Abe told reporters.The talks – launched in 2003 – involve China, the United States, the two Koreas, Japan and Russia. Their fifth and latest session took a recess in November with no signs of progress on persuading the North to disarm. The parties agreed at the end of the fifth session to meet again at an early, though unspecified, date.North Korea says Washington agreed in the last round of talks in Beijing to hold negotiations on the sanctions. The U.S. denies making such an offer.The Rodong Sinmun commentary also called on the U.S. to respect the North and not take any actions that would impede the progress of the six-way nuclear talks. In an earlier Korean-language version, it called the sanctions a U.S. conspiracy to win concessions from the North on the nuclear issue.”North Korea has tremendous economic and social problems, none of which will be solved by the pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Vershbow said.Vail, Colorado

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