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The North Korean Threat

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North Korea Threatens America and South Korea

January 25th 2013

North Korean launch

North Korea has threatened "strong physical counter-measures" against South Korea if Seoul directly takes part in a new U.N. resolution tightening sanctions against Pyongyang. A statement released Friday by the North's Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland warned that sanctions mean a war and a declaration of war against Pyongyang. The statement also threatened to end all dialogue with anyone on denuclearization.
The threat against South Korea came a day after the North said it would carry out a new nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches as part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States.

The statement Friday from North Korea's Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said it would take action against South Korea if it "takes a direct part" in the U.N. sanctions. The South Korean Unification Ministry declined to comment specifically on the new threats from Pyongyang. It reiterated its stance that North Korea should refrain from further provocations.

"Now is a moment when I think all parties in the six-party process, in particular here, North Korea, should turn their attention to how to peacefully and diplomatically address challenges that concern them," U.S. envoy Glyn Davies said from Beijing.The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously condemned a North Korean rocket launch in December as a violation of existing sanctions that ban it from developing missile and nuclear technology. ​​North Korea responded Thursday by saying it would conduct a third nuclear test and carry out more rocket launches.

Recent satellite photos suggest North Korea has been preparing for a nuclear test, at the same Punggye-ri site where it conducted its previous tests in 2006 and 2009. South Korea's Defense Ministry Thursday said the facility could be ready to conduct a test at any time, if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decides to do so. Although the North Korean statement Thursday said the nuclear tests and rocket launches were "targeted at the United States," analysts say it is not capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. They say it also has not mastered the technology necessary to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he has seen no outward sign that North Korea will follow through soon on its plan to conduct a test. But that doesn't mean preparations aren't taking place. "They have the capability, frankly, to conduct these tests in a way that make it very difficult to determine whether or not they are doing it," Panetta said.

North Korea is estimated to have stored up enough weaponized plutonium for four to eight bombs, according to scientist Siegfried Hecker, who visited the North's Nyongbyon nuclear complex in 2010. In October, an unidentified spokesman at the National Defense Commission claimed that the U.S. mainland was within missile range. And at a military parade last April, North Korea showed off what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile. White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday said North Korea's aggressive stance is unnecessary and warned against any further testing.

"North Korea's statement is needlessly provocative and a test would be a significant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions," he said.


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