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Thursday, January 24, 2013

North Korea to target US with nuclear, rocket tests

A soldier stands guard in front of a rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities in the northwest of Pyongyang in this photo taken on April 8, 2012.

North Korea said today it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its "sworn enemy".

The announcement by the country's top military body came a day after the UN Security Council agreed to a US-backed resolution to censure and sanction North Korea for a rocket launch in December that breached U.N. rules.

"We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States," North Korea's National Defence Commission said, according to state news agency KCNA.

North Korea is believed by South Korea and other observers to be "technically ready" for a third nuclear test, and the decision to go ahead rests with leader Kim Jong-un who pressed ahead with the December rocket launch in defiance of the UN sanctions.

China, the one major diplomatic ally of the isolated and impoverished North, agreed to the US-backed resolution and it also supported resolutions in 2006 and 2009 after Pyongyang's two earlier nuclear tests.

Today's statement by North Korea represents a huge challenge to Beijing as it undergoes a leadership transition with Xi Jinping due to take office in March.

China's Foreign Ministry called for calm and restraint and a return to six-party talks, but effectively singled out North Korea, urging the "relevant party" not to take any steps that would raise tensions.

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Tags:  North Korea  US  resolution  nuclear  test  





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