During his visit to Pyongyang late last month, Selig Harrison, director of the Asian program at the Center for International Policy in Washington, was told by North Korean officials that Pyongyang would not sell nuclear materials to al-Qaida or any other terrorist group.
"The North Koreans said they would never allow such a transfer to al-Qaida or anyone else," Harrison said in an interview in Washington with Seoul's Munhwa Ilbo newspaper. North Korea is using its nuclear program as a tool to boost its negotiation leverage, he said.
Harrison also said North Korea rejected a U.S. demand that Pyongyang first make a commitment to "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement" of all its nuclear programs.
Harrison, who enjoys exceptional access to the North Korean leaders, traveled to Pyongyang April 20-23. He has been highly critical of the Bush administration's hard-line policy toward the communist state.