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Pro-N. Korea newspaper hints at nuclear test

Pyongyang could go ahead with long-range rocket tests after the expected suspension of US food aid. -AFP

Wed, Apr 04, 2012

US President Barack Obama (2nd L) looks through binoculars towards North Korea from Observation Post Ouellette during a visit to the Joint Security Area of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near Panmunjom on the border between North and South Korea on March 25, 2012.

SEOUL - North Korea could carry out another nuclear test if the launch of its long-range rocket leads to the expected suspension of US food aid, a pro-North newspaper in Japan said on Wednesday.

North Korea says that it will launch a satellite between April 12 and 16 but the United States, South Korea and other nations see it as a pretext for a long-range missile test, which is banned by the United Nations.

Pyongyang in February agreed to suspend operations at its Yongbyon uranium enrichment plant and impose a moratorium on long-range missile tests and nuclear tests, in return for 240,000 tonnes of US food aid.

Washington said last week it was suspending plans to start food deliveries in light of the imminent rocket launch.

In return, the North may also row back on its nuclear pledge, said the Choson Sinbo newspaper, which generally reflects Pyongyang’s official thinking.

“North Korea’s commitment to a temporary moratorium on nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and uranium enrichment activity can be cancelled,” it said.

The US aid move amounts to “turning the clock back to post-April 2009", Choson Sinbo said, referring to the North’s second nuclear test in May 2009, a month after it launched a long-range rocket.

North Korea will never give up its planned satellite launch, the newspaper added.

The North is preparing mass celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary on April 15 of the birth of Kim Il-Sung, the country’s first and “eternal” president and founder of the dynasty which has ruled uninterrupted since 1948.

A successful satellite launch would burnish the image of his grandson Kim Jong-Un as he seeks to establish his credentials as a strong leader.


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