NEW YORK (AP) _ North Korea said Thursday it would allow the United States to visit a suspected underground nuclear facility but said Washington would have to pay compensation if the visit showed no wrongdoing.

The statement by North Korea's U.N. mission came as a U.S. official said the government was considering an additional 300,000 tons of food relief to North Korea despite signs the country is undertaking an ambitious weapons buildup.

The North Korean statement, which followed seven rounds of talks held over the past two weeks in New York, denied such a buildup.

``If the U.S. allegations are proved groundless through a visit to the site, the U.S. is obliged to make appropriate compensation, particularly for slandering and disgracing (North Korea),'' the statement said. It did not elaborate on what it meant by compensation.

In a separate statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, the North also demanded U.S. compensation for ``slander, insult and defamation'' for accusing it of firing a ballistic missile last week.

North Korea claims a scientific satellite was launched Aug. 31. U.S. and Japanese officials say it was a ballistic missile that soared over Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean.

The United States has consistently provided food aid to North Korea in recent years as a humanitarian gesture in response to appeals by the U.N. World Food Program.

The stated policy is to provide food to hungry North Koreans irrespective of the state of American efforts to establish a cooperative relationship between the two countries.

A combination of drought, floods and mismanagement has left the country desperately short of food in recent years.