TOKYO - North Korea will not return to six-way talks on its nuclear programme unless the United States ends its financial crackdown on Pyongyang's assets, the Kyodo news agency has quoted a senior North Korean official as saying.
Washington has cracked down on firms it suspects of aiding Pyongyang in counterfeiting and money laundering that it says help fund the North's nuclear programmes.
"Under such pressure, we cannot return to the six-way talks. Our position has not changed," Kyodo quoted Ri Gun, North Korea's deputy chief envoy to the talks, as saying.
He was in New York following separate talks with US officials.
North Korea has denied the US charges and said previously it would be unthinkable for it to return to the talks when the United States is trying to topple its leaders through the financial measures. Ri's comments appeared to reiterate this stance rather than harden the North's position.
Washington, Seoul and others have said the financial crackdown is separate from the nuclear talks and have urged Pyongyang to quickly return to the talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Ri's visit had raised hopes among some South Korean officials and analysts that the North may be poised to return to the six-party talks aimed at ending its nuclear programmes.
The last round of talks was held in November last year. The talks involve the two Koreas, host China, Japan, Russia and the United States.