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U.S. warns of continued isolation, pressure on N. Korea unless denuclearized: Pentagon

All Headlines 01:06 April 07, 2010

By Hwang Doo-hyong

WASHINGTON, April 6 (Yonhap) -- The United States warned on Tuesday that North Korea and Iran will face further isolation and international pressure unless they abandon their nuclear ambitions.

In a Nuclear Posture Review report outlining the Obama administration's nuclear policy in the coming years, the Pentagon pledged not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states abiding by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, leaving open a possible nuclear attack on North Korea, which bolted from the NPT in 2002 and has been building its nuclear arsenal, conducting two nuclear tests, one each in 2006 and 2009.

"The United States seeks to bolster the nuclear non-proliferation regime by reversing the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran," the report said. "However, their continued defiance of international norms and agreements will lead only to their further isolation and increasing international pressure."

The report apparently put North Korea and Iran under nuclear threat from the U.S., although it said, "The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners."

"The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations," it said.

North Korea, which conducted its second nuclear test in May last year, is widely believed to possess several nuclear warheads, with some analysts saying it has already developed the technology to mount the warheads on long-range missiles.

Iran is suspected of seeking the same path as the North. They are both non-signatories to the NPT.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week depicted North Korea as the country "that already has nuclear weapons," and Iran as one that is "clearly seeking nuclear weapons," although
the U.S. government's official position is not to recognize the North as a nuclear weapons state while assuming the North has the plutonium to produce several nuclear warheads.

hdh@yna.co.kr
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