30 Apr 2009

North Korea threatens nuclear tests

6:23 am on 30 April 2009

North Korea has threatened to carry out nuclear missile tests unless the UN Security Council apologises for its condemnation of a recent rocket launch.

Pyongyang said it would be compelled to take self-defence measures "including nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests" if no apology was made.

The rocket launch on 5 April was seen by the US and others as a disguised missile test.

The UN denounced North Korea's actions and called for tighter sanctions.

Pyongyang has insisted it put a communications satellite in orbit, and said it would ignore the sanctions, describing them as "a wanton violation of the UN charter".

The foreign ministry said the UN should apologise for "infringing" the country's sovereignty and retract "all its resolutions and decisions" against Pyongyang.

According to a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, the ministry also announced plans to build a light-water nuclear reactor.

Following the UN criticism, the North pulled out of international negotiations on its denuclearisation and ejected all monitors from the country.

Pyongyang has since announced that it has started reprocessing spent fuel rods at its Yongbyon nuclear plant.

The BBC reports the reprocessing is a possible move towards producing weapons-grade plutonium.

North Korea partially dismantled its nuclear reactor under a deal agreed at international talks in early 2007, in which it was also promised fuel aid.

It is thought to possess enough reprocessed plutonium for between six and eight nuclear weapons.

North Korea conducted a nuclear test in October 2006.