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S. Korea says no imminent sign of N. Korea's nuclear test

All Headlines 11:55 March 31, 2014

SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Monday that there is no indication that North Korea's possible nuclear test is imminent, a day after Pyongyang threatened to carry out a "new form" of nuclear test.

The North issued the latest threat on Sunday in response to a U.N. condemnation of its recent ballistic missile launches.

North Korea test-fired two ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast last week, a move Seoul and Washington say violated U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban all ballistic missile tests by the North.

"North Korea is capable of carrying out a nuclear test or launching a long-range missile at any time, though there is no indication of an imminent nuclear test or launch of the missile," Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do said in a briefing.

His comments came a day after the North's foreign ministry warned that the North "would not rule out a new form of nuclear test for bolstering up its nuclear deterrence."

The North has a track record of carrying out nuclear tests within a month after its foreign ministry issues a statement in response to a U.N. condemnation of its long-range missile or rocket launches.

North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013, drawing international condemnation and U.N. sanctions.

Also Monday, the North's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said North Korea will stick to its policy of pursuing economic development along with building its nuclear arsenal.

Seoul and Washington have warned that the North's policy is a dead end for the impoverished communist country.

"We should never yield or compromise to the U.S. pressure," the newspaper said in a front-page editorial, noting that the U.S. demands that the North first abandon its nuclear programs as it ratchets up its nuclear blackmail against the North.

The North has shown no signs of giving up its nuclear programs as it views them as a deterrent against what it claims is Washington's hostile policy against it.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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