"The US. intention to bring up the nuclear issue on the peninsula for discussion at the United Nations at any cost is a grave criminal act to hamstring all the efforts of the DPRK for dialogue," the official KCNA news agency said.

"Any move to discuss the nuclear issue at the U.N. Security Council is little short of a prelude to a war," KCNA said.

It said the resumption of talks depended entirely on whether Washington dropped what Pyongyang calls its hostile policy towards the North.


"Any move to discuss the nuclear issue at the U.N. Security Council is little short of a prelude to a war."

-North Korea's news agency, KCNA

Hawkish talk

North Korea and the United States said on Friday they had agreed to hold six-way talks on the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear intentions. China, Japan, Russia and South Korea will also attend.

But rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang has been at a higher pitch than usual in recent days.

Undersecretary of State John Bolton, widely seen as a Bush administration "hawk" on North Korea, said earlier this week the UN Security Council needed to take "appropriate and timely action" to send a signal to the world it took the North Korean crisis seriously.

Starving population

KCNA did not refer to comments by Bolton that described life in the reclusive country as a "hellish nightmare".

Bolton said North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was living like royalty while keeping hundreds of thousands of his people locked in prison camps, with millions more mired in poverty and facing chronic food shortages.

The crisis began last October when Washington claimed that Pyongyang said it had a covert nuclear programme.