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N. Korea: 'Impossible' to join nuclear talks
Updated: 2004-08-23 13:47

North Korea said it was "impossible" to hold new talks with the United States aimed at ending a stand-off over the country's nuclear weapons drive.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said a working-group meeting to prepare for new six-nation talks could not be opened because of Washington's hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

"This made it quite impossible for the DPRK (North Korea) to go to the talks and deprived it of any elementary justification to sit at the negotiating table with the US," he said in a statement carried through the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

The statement also included unusually strong insults directed at US President George W. Bush, describing him as "a tyrant that puts Hitler into the shade".

"He is a political imbecile bereft of even elementary morality as a human being and a bad guy," the statement added.

Little progress has been made in three previous rounds of talks in Beijing in a bid to break the impasse, which began in October 2002 when Washington accused Pyongyang of running a secret nuclear program based on enriched uranium.

Fresh talks are due in September. But North Korea has already expressed scepticism about the gathering bringing together China, the two Koreas, Japan, Russia and the United States.

North Korea has stepped up its anti-US tirade ahead of US-South Korean military drills that started on Monday.

The North insists the annual two-week exercise is part of Washington's war preparations to topple Pyongyang government, while Washington says it is purely defensive.

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