The United States has rejected a North Korean demand to lift sanctions against Pyongyang as a condition for resuming nuclear disarmament talks.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday the two issues are not related. He said he does not see why the sanctions are preventing the North Korean government from rejoining six-party talks.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday the North Korean demand is another pretext to delay the talks.

Tuesday, North Korea said it will not return to the talks until the United States ends economic sanctions against Pyongyang.

In October, Washington blacklisted eight North Korean companies allegedly involved in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. officials also accuse Pyongyang of counterfeiting, money laundering and drug trafficking.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.