North Korea Says Will Boost Nuclear Program in Response to US

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 7:35 am (UTC-5)
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North Korea is warning that it will continue to develop its nuclear program in response to diplomatic pressure from the United States.

Pyongyang's foreign ministry said Tuesday that it will “bolster its nuclear deterrent” in the face of what it called Washington's “hostile policies.” But it made no direct threat of a nuclear test that many fear could soon take place.

The statement carried by the North Korean Central News Agency came after the Group of Eight world leaders issued a declaration warning of more sanctions against North Korea if it continues to threaten the stability of the region.

North Korea received widespread condemnation following its failed rocket launch last month. Pyongyang said the launch was to place a weather satellite into orbit, but the United States and other countries argued it was a test of a long-range ballistic missile that could carry warheads.

There has been increased speculation that North Korea is preparing to conduct its third nuclear test, as it did following rocket launches in 2006 and 2009.

The North Korean statement on Tuesday said it had no plans for such a test, saying the rumor was started by Washington in order to incite confrontation.

It also said it was preparing unspecified “countermeasures” to respond to the United States, but said it was open to dialogue to resolve the standoff.

Recent satellite images show increased activity at North Korean nuclear sites.