North Korea on late Saturday blamed Washington for the cancellation of a visit by a special US envoy to Pyongyang, citing joint US-South Korea military drills described as the "most blatant nuclear blackmail."
The US State Department said North Korea had cancelled the invitation to an envoy who was to have sought the release of a US citizen held prisoner in the reclusive state.
News of the planned trip by US diplomat Robert King had raised hopes that Kenneth Bae, an American who has been prisoner in North Korea since November, might be released.
King had been due to fly to Pyongyang on Friday, but the State Department said the visit had been cancelled after North Korea rescinded its invitation.
North Korea on Saturday placed the blame for the cancelled visit at the feet of Washington.
"We intended to allow the visit of the special envoy and have a sincere discussion with him," a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement to the official Korean Central News Agency.
But joint military drills by the US and South Korea, including "such grave military provocation as infiltrating B-52H strategic bombers into the sky above the Korean Peninsula," had "beclouded the atmosphere," according to the spokesman.
The annual 10-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint exercise, which ended on Friday, is habitually condemned by Pyongyang.
North Korea's response to the drill had been unusually muted up until Saturday, when the spokesman told KCNA the drills were "the most blatant nuclear blackmail against us."
简明释义：美国国务院表示，取消了由罗伯特带领的访问团去朝鲜平壤。罗伯特此行的目的是为了给朝鲜关押的 Kenneth，以为美籍韩国人。Kenneth 是因携带一个存有朝鲜处死叛国者和异己人士影像的电脑硬盘而被捕的，将会被判5-10年的劳动改造。