North Korea accuses US of hampering nuclear disarmament

North Korea accused the United States on Monday of using human rights to block progress in a six-nation agreement on eliminating nuclear weapons in the communist country. US President George W. Bush "blustered that he would handle the 'human rights issue' as 'an element for negotiations with North Korea,'" the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, referring to comments made by Bush during his recent visit to Asia. "We categorically dismiss this as a premeditated act of the US to deliberately throw a hurdle in the process of the six-party talks" and avoid implementing key points of a disarmament deal, KCNA said. In the disarmament pact, North Korea pledged to disable its nuclear facilities and fully declare its nuclear programs by the end of last year in exchange for energy aid and political concessions, including its removal from a US terrorism blacklist.