BEIJING, May 14 -- North Korea denounced as "humiliating" U.S. demands that it commit to dismantling its nuclear program before seeking aid in return. But it vowed to continue six-nation negotiations "with patience," the Associated Press reported Friday.
A statement read to reporters by a North Korean official in Beijing early Friday criticized Washington for refusing to discuss an aid package until Pyongyang pledges to eliminate the program.
North Korean envoys on Wednesday reportedly demanded aid in exchange for freezing the program at the start of low-level "working group" talks hosted by China. The other participants are South Korea, Japan and Russia.
The United States and its allies say they are willing to provide aid if North Korea freezes its nuclear facilities and commits itself to dismantling them. Washington says such a freeze must be a temporary step toward permanent dismantling.
US officials refer to the concept as CVID, for "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling."
"The US demand on CVID is the kind of humiliating measure that can only be imposed on a country defeated in a war," said the North Korean official, Pak Myong Kuk. He identified himself as a member of the negotiating team.
Pak read the statement to reporters in the street outside the North Korean Embassy shortly before 1 am.
However, Pak said, the North "expressed its willingness to maintain patience and proceed with the six-party process with patience."
The statement was the first North Korean comment on the talks. US officials have not issued any details since the talks started.
The talks in Beijing were meant to help develop an agenda for a third round of high-level negotiations.