The Democratic People's Republic of Korea(DPRK) on Tuesday announced that it would conduct a nuclear test in the future as a war deterrent against the US hostile policy. The international community is showing great concerns over the issue.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, the DPRK said "(for) scientific research, the DPRK will in the future conduct a nuclear test under conditions where safety is firmly guaranteed," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
But the statement did not give a specific date or location for the upcoming test.
The DPRK said it would implement its international commitment on nuclear non-proliferation "as a responsible nuclear weapons state" although in January 2003 it quit the Non-proliferation Treaty.
The DPRK "will never use nuclear weapons first, but strictly prohibit any threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear transfer," the statement said.
Meanwhile, The DPRK also affirmed that it would strive to "realize the denuclearization of the (Korean) peninsula and give impetus to worldwide nuclear disarmament and the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons."
The statement accused the United States of adopting a hostile policy toward the DPRK , saying that was why it must conduct a nuclear test, as a way of bolstering its war deterrence.
"The US' extreme threat of a nuclear war and (its) sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test", said the statement.
"Under the present situation ... the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK have reached the worst phase, going beyond the extremity," it said.
"The DPRK can no longer remain an on-looker to the developments, " it added.
The DPRK is believed by US officials to have possessed one or two nuclear weapons for years, and that it has the capability to produce more.
In a joint statement at the end of the fourth round of the six-party talks in September 2005, the DPRK promised to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs while the United States affirmed that it had no intention of attacking or invading the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons.
In October last year, Washington imposed financial restrictions on the DPRK, saying that Pyongyang's companies had been involved in illicit activities, including counterfeiting, money laundering and financing weapons proliferation, which, in turn, led to the DPRK refusal to return to the six-party talks.
The talks, which involves China, the DPRK, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan, have been stalled since the first phase of the fifth round of talks ended last November.
China hopes that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) must keep calm and restraint on the nuclear test issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement in Beijing Wednesday.
"We hope that the DPRK must keep calm and restraint on the nuclear test issue," Liu said.
Liu's comment came after the DPRK Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that it would conduct a nuclear test in the future.
"We also hope that all relevant parties must address their concerns through dialogues and consultations instead of taking actions that may intensify the situation," Liu said.
The Chinese side has always maintained a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and safeguarding peace and stability of the peninsula and northeast Asia through the six-party talks process.
Russia expressed "deep concern" and urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to exercise restraint on Tuesday after it announced plans to conduct a nuclear test.
"We believe this move would only lead to a further escalation of the military and political situation on the Korean peninsula and around it and further erosion of the international nuclear non- proliferation system," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The DPRK said in a statement earlier in the day that it "will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed." The statement did not give a specific date or location for the upcoming test.
"Russia calls on Pyongyang to show restraint and expresses the hope that the DPRK will make the right choice," the statement said.
"We take a respectful and careful attitude toward the anxiety ( of the DPRK) over its security, but we believe that a solution to this problem should be sought within the framework of the six- party negotiations," it said.
Japan said on Tuesday it would respond "harshly" if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted a nuclear test.
"Japan and the world would definitely not tolerate a nuclear test (by the DPRK)," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.
"If the test is carried out, I believe the international community would respond harshly," he said.
The United States
Visiting United States' Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Cairo Tuesday that a nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) would be a "very provocative" act.
Rice made her remarks at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit after a group meeting with foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan plus the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.
It would be a "very provocative act" by the DPRK, yet they have not done it yet, she told the press conference, which was dominated by questions over the disputed Iranian nuclear program and DPRK's nuclear test.
A nuclear test by the DPRK will create a big difference in the Korean peninsula situation, she said, adding that it was not just an issue for the America, but a "quite serious issue" for the entire neighborhood.
As for a US possible military operation against the DPRK if it conduct a nuclear test, Rice said the US would need to assess the options.
Earlier in the day, US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement that a nuclear test by the DPRK would pose an "unacceptable" threat to peace and stability in Asia and the world.
A nuclear test would "severely undermine our confidence in the DPRK's commitment to six party talks and would pose an unacceptable threat to peace and stability in Asia and the world," said McCormack in the statement.
"A provocative action of this nature would only further isolate the DPRK," McCormack said.
"The US will continue to work with its allies and partners to discourage such a reckless action and will respond appropriately," he added.
Singapore on Tuesday night showed its great concern over the possible nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and urged the latter to reconsider its plan.
"We view this with great concern as such a move would be dangerously destabilizing to the entire region," Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The ministry said it would also not be in the DPRK's own interest.
"We urged the DPRK authorities to reconsider its plan and not proceed with such a test under any circumstances," said the ministry.
Finland, the holder of European Union's current presidency, expressed in a statement Tuesday "deep concern" over the nuclear test plan announced by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The statement said the announcement is an irresponsible and escalatory step. It increases tension and undermines regional stability.
The EU strongly urges the DPRK to return immediately to the six- party talks to take forward the areas of work agreed in the Joint Statement of September 2005, the statement said.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer expressed concern over plans of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to conduct a nuclear test.
"I am gravely concerned by reports that North Korea (DPRK) plans to test a nuclear weapon," said de Hoop Scheffer in a statement.
Such a test would pose a threat to peace and security in Asia and the world, he said.
"I strongly urge North Korea to return to the Six Party Talks, which seek the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through peaceful, diplomatic means," he added.
France Urges DPRK to Immediately Abandon Nuclear Threat
France urged on Tuesday the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to immediately give up its plans to conduct a nuclear test, expressing its concern that the plan would seriously undermine regional and international security.
"We are very concerned by the announcement made by DPRK," foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei told reporters.
The DPRK's foreign ministry announced earlier in the day that it "will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed," to reinforce its arsenal against what it considers a growing threat posed by the United States.
The statement did not give a specific date or location for the upcoming test.
"We urge it to immediately abandon this project, since such an act would create serious instability for regional and international security," Mattei said.
French government urged Pyongyang to heed UN resolution 1695 and expressed the hope that it exerts "self control and abstain from all action that could aggravate tensions."
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett on Tuesday said that a planned nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) would be a "highly provocative act."
"The international community has repeatedly urged the government of the DPRK to refrain from both missile testing and nuclear testing," she said in a statement, noting that a nuclear test would be viewed by Britain and the international community as "a highly provocative act with serious repercussions for the DPRK ."
"It would also be totally incompatible with the DPRK's commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and is completely against the expressed will of the international community under UN Security Council Resolution 1695." she said.
She called on the DPRK to continue observing a moratorium on nuclear tests, saying "this is of vital importance to the peace of the region and to the cause of preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons world-wide."
The South Korean government on Wednesday called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to drop its plan to conduct a nuclear test and return to the six-party talks.
Following a policy coordination meeting of security-related ministers at the Presidential House on Wednesday morning, the South Korean government released a statement through a nationwide broadcast, as its official response to the DPRK's announcement of a possible nuclear test.
"The South Korean government expresses very serious concern and regret over it," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Choo Kyu-ho in the statement.
"The government clearly reaffirms the position that it would never be acceptable (to the South Korean government) for the North (DPRK) to possess nuclear weapons, and the government urges the North to immediately scrap the plan for a nuclear test," he said.
The DPRK "will have to take all responsibility for all the consequences of a nuclear test," said Choo, appealing that the DPRK "should not take any more actions to worsen the situation, and it will have to return to the six-party talks (on the nuclear issues of the Korean Peninsula)."
The statement said a test of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang will violate the 1991 Joint Declaration for the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, in which South Korea and the DPRK promised not to produce, test or possess nuclear weapons.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to observe the current moratorium on nuclear testing.
In a statement released by his spokesman on Tuesday night, Annan voiced his serious concern over the DPRK's stated intentions of carrying out a nuclear test in the future.
"Such action, if undertaken, would further aggravate tensions in the region," he said, noting that "it would bring universal condemnation by the international community and will not help DPRK achieve the goals expressed in its statement, particularly with regard to strengthening its security."
The UN chief thus urged the DPRK leadership "to exercise utmost restraint and adhere to the international community's norm on nuclear testing and also observe the current moratorium."
He believed that DPRK should return to the six-party talks so that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and other security concerns between and among the parties could be solved through negotiations.
Earlier on Tuesday, the UN Security Council's President for October, Ambassador Kenzo Oshima of Japan, said that the issue of the DPRK and its nuclear program, would be near the top of the council's agenda this month.
(Xinhua News Agency October 4, 2006)