The United States says it will not give North Korea further economic aid until Pyongyang returns to nuclear talks.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told lawmakers Thursday that the Obama administration has "no interest and no willingness" to give North Korea further economic aid.
But Clinton said the administration has requested funds for economic aid to North Korea in case Pyongyang returns to nuclear talks and re-starts disablement measures.
She said, in her words, that North Korea is "digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole with the international community."
The United States last December halted fuel oil deliveries that it promised to North Korea under the disarmament talks after Pyongyang refused to agree to measures to verify disablement. Washington had already delivered at least 100,000 tons under the deal.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Thursday that North Korea seems very unlikely to return to the six-nation talks soon. But Wood said the United States still believes the aid-for-disarmament talks are the best way to achieve a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
On Wednesday, North Korea threatened to test nuclear explosives and intercontinental ballistic missiles if the United Nations Security Council does not apologize for condemning Pyongyang's recent rocket launch. The North's Foreign Ministry said it will be forced "to take additional defensive measures" if an apology does not come immediately.
The United Nations imposed sanctions on Pyongyang after it launched a ballistic missile over Japan in July of 2006 and held a nuclear test a few months later. Last Friday, the U.N. imposed additional sanctions on three North Korean companies in response to its April fifth rocket launch.The United States, Russia, China, South Korea and Japan have been negotiating with Pyongyang for years to try to get it to eliminate its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for one million tons of heavy fuel oil and other benefits.