N.Korea accuses U-S of blocking its religious delegation

Seoul, South Korea - North Korea today accused the United States of suppressing religion by allegedly blocking the entry of its religious delegation into the country and demanded an apology.

An unnamed spokesman for North's Korean Christian Federation claimed U.S. authorities refused to let North Koreans participate in a meeting of the U.S. Presbyterian Church in Birmingham this week.

The accusation comes amid heightened tension in the region over alleged moves by the communist North to launch a long-range missile believed to have the capability to reach parts of the U.S..

North Korea's constitution says its people can enjoy freedom of religion but the communist regime was cited last year by the State Department as restricting religious freedom.

The report said education and outreach programs and religious publications are not permitted, and religious worshippers are frequently persecuted.