Wed, Oct 04, 2006 - Page 1 News List

North Korea threatens `defensive' nuclear weapons test

AFP , SEOUL

North Korea announced yesterday it would carry out a nuclear weapons test in response to threats and sanctions from the US, which it said was trying to topple its communist regime.

No date or time was given for the test but the announcement, which portrayed the North as under siege from a US administration pushing for nuclear war, drew immediate and strongly worded condemnation from Japan.

The statement, issued by the foreign ministry, said the nation's atomic program was essential in providing a deterrent to Washington -- and that after developing nuclear weapons it had to test them.

"The US extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK [North Korea] to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering nuclear deterrent, as a corresponding measure," it said.

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