SEOUL, Oct 3 - North Korea said on Tuesday it would conduct its
first-ever nuclear test, blaming a U.S. "threat of nuclear war and sanctions"
for forcing its hand.
by North Korea's foreign ministry, which was carried on the official KCNA News
Agency, capped weeks of rumours that the state was planning a test and came
amid increasingly bitter relations with the US after it test-fired missiles
Minister of North Korea Choe Su-hon addresses the 61st session of the
United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York,
September 26, 2006. [Reuters]
"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 for defence," the
But it added that North Korea would never use nuclear weapons first and would
"do its utmost to realise the denuclearisation of the peninsula and give impetus
to the worldwide nuclear disarmament and the ultimate elimination of nuclear
Analysts say North Korea probably has enough fissile material to make 6 to 8
nuclear bombs but probably does not have the technology to make one small enough
to mount on a missile.
Officials in North Korea's two other major neighbours -- China and South
Korea -- gave no immediate reaction to the report.
All are members of six-nation talks trying to end Pyongyang's nuclear weapons
programme. The other two countries are Russia and the United States.
North Korea walked out of the talks almost a year ago and has refused to
return until the United States ends a financial crackdown on its offshore bank
A nuclear test is certain to be seen as an attempt by North Korea to force
the United States into direct negotiations, something it has long pushed for but
which Washington has rejected until Pyongyang returns to the six-party talks.
"North Korea thinks it has no other option but to press the United States to
have bilateral negotiations with them. North Korea has nothing to lose by
conducting a nuclear test," Chang Myung-soon, an expert on North Korea's
"A military attack on North Korea will be really difficult considering
opposition from South Korea, China and Russia," he said.
"I don't think this will end up just as blackmail. I see the possibility of
an actual nuclear test as high."
NORTH BLAMES U.S.
North Korea blamed the United States for the latest ratcheting up of tension
on the Korean peninsula, which has been divided for more than 50 years after a
war over which no formal peace treaty has ever been signed.
It accused Washington over trying to topple its government with the financial
"The U.S. daily increasing threat of a nuclear war and its vicious sanctions
and pressure have caused a grave situation on the Korean peninsula in which the
supreme interests and security of our state are seriously infringed upon and the
Korean nation stands at the crossroads of life and death," the North Korean