Tags: nkorea | kerry | nuclear | state

Kerry: US Won't Accept NKorea as 'Nuclear State'

Image: Kerry: US Won't Accept NKorea as 'Nuclear State' U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, gestures during a news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se, at the State Department in Washington, April 2, 2013.

Tuesday, 02 Apr 2013 06:36 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that the U.S. will not accept North Korea as a “nuclear state.”

“The bottom line is very simple: It is provocative, dangerous and reckless — and the United States will not accept the DPRK as a nuclear state,” Kerry said at a briefing with South Korea Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, CNN reports.

Kerry’s comments follow reports that North Korea plans to restart a nuclear reactor that it closed over five years ago.

“We will do what is necessary to defend ourselves and our allies,” Kerry said.

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Earlier on Tuesday, Pyongyang said it would restart the reactor, at its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon.

The move demonstrates Kim Jong Un's commitment to the country's nuclear weapons program that the international community has unsuccessfully tried to persuade it to abandon.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Pyongyang’s atomic energy department intends to “readjust and restart all the nuclear facilities” at the complex, CNN reports.

The facilities include a uranium-enrichment facility and a reactor that was “mothballed and disabled” under an agreement reached in October 2007 during talks among North Korea, the United States and four other nations, KCNA said.

But United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is himself South Korean, urged calm on Pyongyang’s part. He said he was “deeply troubled,” CNN reports.

“The current crisis has already gone too far,” Ban said in a statement from Andorra. “Nuclear threats are not a game. Aggressive rhetoric and military posturing only result in counter-actions, and fuel fear and instability.

“Things must begin to calm down, as this situation, made worse by the lack of communication, could lead down a path that nobody should want to follow.”

Ban said that dialogue and negotiations were “the only way to resolve the current crisis.”

“It's yet another escalation in this ongoing crisis,” Ramesh Thakur, director of the Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament at Australian National University in Canberra, told CNN.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have led Pyongyang to sever a key military hotline with Seoul and declare void the 1953 armistice that stopped the Korean War.

Meanwhile, the United States has made a show of its military strength amid annual training exercises with South Korea — flying B-2 stealth bombers that can carry conventional or nuclear weapons, Cold War-era B-52s and F-22 Raptor stealth fighters over South Korea, CNN reports.

On Monday, Seoul warned that any provocative moves from North Korea would trigger a strong response “without any political considerations,” CNN reports.

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