North Korea: U.S. Pressure Would Mean 'Declaration Of War' - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


North Korea: U.S. Pressure Would Mean 'Declaration Of War'

North Korea will consider any increased pressure from the United States as "a declaration of a war," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday, according to South Korea's official news agency.

The United States is leading the charge for limited U.N. sanctions against the reclusive communist country after it said it carried out a nuclear test Monday. The U.N. Security Council is considering the draft resolution.

North Korea's second in command, Kim Yong Nam, told Japan's Kyodo News Agency that sanctions would prevent Pyongyang from rejoining multilateral negotiations on its nuclear weapons program, which stalled last year.

"We cannot attend the six-party talks while financial sanctions and various sanctions are imposed on us," said Kim, according to a translation from The Associated Press.

The Bush administration has insisted any negotiations between the United States and North Korea occur within the framework of six-party talks that also involve China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said President Bush has told the North Koreans that "there is no intention to invade or attack them. So they have that guarantee. ... I don't know what more they want."

Kim earlier had threatened more nuclear tests if the United States continued its "hostile attitude" against Pyongyang, a news report said Wednesday.

South Korea's defense minister, Yoon Kwang-ung, later announced that Seoul will enlarge its conventional arsenal to deal with its potentially nuclear-armed neighbor.

South Korea's military joint chiefs of staff have told the defense minister that troops should check their readiness for nuclear war, according to that country's Yonhap news service, the AP reported.

Japan announces sanctions

Japan on Wednesday banned North Korean imports and said the North's ships were prohibited from entering Japanese ports, the AP reported.

North Korean nationals also are prohibited from entering Japan, with limited exceptions, the report said.

"Japan is in gravest danger, if we consider that North Korea has advanced both its missile and nuclear capabilities," the AP quoted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as saying.

"We cannot tolerate North Korea's actions if we are to protect Japanese lives and property. These measures were taken to protect the peace."

A U.S. official said it is possible North Korea may attempt a second test but cautioned there's no evidence of any preparations at another site.

"I would not say we expect it, but it would not be a total surprise," the official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.

Australia's foreign minister cited sources when he told his nation's Parliament that a second test from North Korea could be imminent.

"We have very real concerns that they may conduct another nuclear test and that they may do so very soon," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in a report from the AP.

The concern over a second such test was demonstrated early Wednesday, when Japan nervously reported a tremor they initially believed to be an explosion but later was found to be an earthquake.

U.S. official: 'Something went wrong' on blast

Meanwhile, speculation over the reported test on Monday continued. The United States said it believed North Korea attempted to detonate a nuclear device but that "something went wrong," and the blast was relatively small, a U.S. government official said Tuesday.

The official confirmed North Korea informed the Chinese government before the test that it would involve a four-kiloton nuclear device, a small explosion compared with the 15-kiloton nuclear tests that India and Pakistan conducted in 1998.

Also, an unnamed North Korean diplomat acknowledged that the test was smaller than expected, the South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported Tuesday.

The United States cannot say for sure the underground detonation was a nuclear blast; the working assumption is that it was, but not very successful, said the official who spoke to CNN.

Meanwhile, nations were lining up against the reclusive regime of Kim Jong Il, with even longtime ally China saying the reported nuclear test should bring "punitive actions."

The Yonhap news agency, in a dispatch carried by the AP, quoted an unidentified North Korean official as saying, "We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes."

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, dismissed the report as a North Korean attempt to bully the United States into bilateral talks.

Rice, speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room," also called North Korea's threat a bad idea, saying that Pyongyang is aware of the consequences.

Despite the reported threat, North Korea's missiles are not likely to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and a test firing of an alleged long-range missile failed in July.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Jamie McIntyre and Maxim Tkachenko contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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