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North Korea threatens new nuclear, ballistic missile tests


MOSCOW, April 29 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea said on Wednesday it would conduct further nuclear tests and rocket launches if the UN Security Council did not apologize for its recent criticism of Pyongyang, South Korea's Yonhap said.

The reclusive communist regime announced it was resuming work at its nuclear facilities that produce weapons-grade plutonium and withdrawing from six-nation talks after the UN Security Council condemned a rocket launch on April 5, which Pyongyang said was carrying a communications satellite.

Yonhap also cited North Korea's Foreign Ministry as saying that Pyongyang had decided to build a nuclear power plant with light-water reactors and develop its own technology to produce fuel for these reactors.

Pyongyang's announcements follow U.N. Security Council's criticism over a recent North Korean rocket launch and the approval of new sanctions against three major North Korean companies - Korea Mining Development Trading Corp., Korea Ryongbong General Corp., and the Tanchon Commercial Bank, which are suspected of involvement in ballistic missile transactions.

The North has also expelled IAEA and U.S. nuclear inspectors involved in monitoring the country's disablement progress.

The six-nation talks, involving North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States, were launched in 2003 after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Under deals reached in 2007, the North began disabling a nuclear reactor and other facilities at Yongbyon under U.S. supervision in exchange for economic aid and political incentives.

However, in December, the latest round of six-party talks resulted in deadlock over a U.S. demand that nuclear inspectors be allowed to take samples out of the country from North Korean facilities for further analysis.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who recently visited Pyongyang, said on April 24 that North Korea had no plans to return to six-nation talks, and expressed hope that the situation around North Korea's nuclear and missile programs would not be used as a pretext for the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region.

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