updated 12/28/2004 9:24:53 AM ET 2004-12-28T14:24:53

North Korea blamed South Korea on Tuesday for a stall in the dialogue between the two countries and demanded an apology.

In a lengthy report, the North’s Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland cited a mass defection of North Koreans to the capitalist South earlier this year — and a joint military exercise the South held with the United States — as “anti-reunification acts.”

Cabinet-level talks between the two Koreas were canceled in August after about 460 North Koreans arrived by plane in South Korea in an operation shrouded in secrecy. North Korea repeatedly has called it a “kidnapping.”

“Due to all the wrong acts of the South Korean authorities, multichannel dialogues and contacts including the ministerial talks have stopped and the inter-Korean relations frozen, and the situation of the Korean Peninsula is rushing headlong to an acute confrontation and strain,” the secretariat said in a statement carried by KCNA, the North’s official news agency.

On Tuesday, North Korea also urged South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun’s administration to “admit its two-year course of acts against reunification and apologize to the nation at an early date in whatever form and way considered suitable.”

Relations between the two countries have also been strained by a continuing international dispute over the North’s suspected development of nuclear weapons.

A spokesman from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry also said Tuesday that the country wouldn’t agree to disarm until “the U.S. drops its hostile policy aimed at the ’overthrow of the system’ in (North Korea) and opts for co-existence with it.”

Washington has demanded the North completely abandon its nuclear program before giving any economic or diplomatic concessions. But the spokesman said in a statement carried by KCNA that “it will be something unimaginable that (North Korea) will accept such (a) coercive and brigandish demand.”

“There is no reason for (North Korea) to make haste,” the spokesman added.

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