North Korea's top nuclear envoy said Thursday that the U.S. is seeking a return to denuclearization talks in December, but warned that he believed the move could be a "trick to earn time" ahead of a year-end deadline set by Pyongyang for progress in the talks.

Kim Myong Gil said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency that Stephen Biegun, Washington's special envoy to North Korea, had sent Pyongyang a message through an unnamed third country "hoping that the DPRK and the U.S. would meet again within December for negotiations."

DPRK is the acronym for the North's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.