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Apr 14, 2009 at 03:55pm IST

North Korea vows to boycott nuclear talks

Seoul: North Korea on Tuesday announced it will boycott international negotiations on ending its nuclear weapons programme and restore nuclear facilities that have been disabled as part of an earlier multilateral agreement.

The six-party talks "in which we are participating have become no longer necessary", the foreign ministry said in a statement distributed by the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

"We will never again participate in these talks and never be bound to any agreement of the six-party talks," the statement said.

HARD TALK: N Korea will boycott talks terminating its nuclear weapons programme.

"The DPRK resolutely rejects the unjust action taken by the UNSC wantonly infringing upon the sovereignty of the DPRK and seriously hurting the dignity of the Korean people," the statement said, using North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

North Korea's foreign ministry also said it intended to re-start a reactor at its Yongbyon nuclear facility and reprocess nuclear fuel rods and "bolster its nuclear deterrent for self defence in every way".

Pyongyang will "take the measure for restoring to their original state the nuclear facilities which had been disabled under the agreement of the six-party talks and putting their operation on a normal track and fully reprocess the spent fuel rods churned out from the pilot atomic power plant as part of it."

The statement came in response to a UN Security Council statement on Monday condemning North Korea's April 5 rocket launch and calling for a ban on further missile tests.

Pyongyang threatened before the launch that it would quit the talks if the council criticised what the communist state said was the launch of a communications satellite, while Japan, South Korea and the US believe it served as cover for testing a Taepodong-2 long-range missile.

The US, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea have been trying to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons drive in the framework of the six-party talks since Pyongyang announced it was withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003.

After little initial success and a North Korean nuclear test in October 2006, the Stalinist state agreed in February 2007 to dismantle its weapons programme in exchange for substantial aid.

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