NKorea not against talks with US

NEW YORK: North Korea's UN ambassador on Friday said his government was not opposed to negotiations with the United States on issues of common concern.

"We are not against a dialogue. We are not against any negotiations on issues of common concern," Ambassador Sin Son Ho told reporters at the North Korean mission in New York.

He said Pyongyang was not to blame for the absence of dialogue with Washington. "It is not because of us. We are ready anytime."

And he reaffirmed that his government would not return to the six-party talks on a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

"We have already made our position very clear. The six-party talks are gone forever. We will never participate in the six-party talks, never again," the North Korean envoy said, referring to long-running negotiations involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

He said that Pyongyang broke off the talks because the other parties to the talks had not implemented what they had promised.

"They did not implement what they have agreed, what they have promised... So we will not trust them any longer. Whatever agreement, whatever promise they give us, they always cheat," he added.

In exchange for abandoning its nuclear program, North Korea was promised food and energy assistance from the other parties.

Pyongyang quit the six-party talks and vowed to restart its nuclear program after the UN Security Council censured it for a long-range rocket launch in April.

In May it staged its second nuclear test and it has also test-fired an array of short and medium-range missiles.

On June 12, the Security Council imposed sanctions -- including an expanded arms embargo and beefed up inspections of air, sea and land shipments going to and from North Korea -- following its May 25 underground nuclear test.

And on July 16, the Council imposed a travel ban on five North Korean officials and asset freezes on five more entities involved in the country's banned nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs.