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North Korea blames Washington for delays in implementing agreements reached
North Korea blames Washington for delays in implementing agreements reached at an October 2007 round of six-nation denuclearization talks, the Chinese Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.

Pyongyang missed a year-end deadline to disable its nuclear facilities and provide a full account of its activities in the sphere. In return for the commitments, South Korea, China, the United States, Russia and Japan had offered the Communist state economic and diplomatic incentives.

"The DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] has done its part under the agreement of the six-party talks, but the United States has not," the Chinese news agency quoted the North's leading official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, as saying.

Pyongyang said Washington has not honored its commitment to cross the country off a blacklist of "sponsors of terrorism" and to stop applying the "Trading with the Enemy Act," which restricts trade with countries hostile to the U.S., Xinhua reported, referring to the paper.

A senior Russian diplomat said late last year that Moscow was not surprised that Pyongyang would be unable to finish scrapping its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon by the end of 2007 as "the decommissioning of nuclear installations is a very complex technical process," which could take several more months to complete.

The impoverished state received fuel shipments from South Korea and China last year under a breakthrough February 2006 deal. Russia is set to supply 50,000 tons of fuel oil to the North on January 20-21.

The North Korean newspaper said if "U.S. hardliners keep on pressing Pyongyang," North Korea would have to take tough counter measures, without elaborating.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill earlier expressed concerns over the reclusive regime's failure to meet the deadline, but said a further round of six-party talks on the nuclear problem could take place in January.


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