SEOUL, April 30 (UPI) -- North Korea has threatened to test a second nuclear bomb and an intercontinental ballistic missile unless the U.N. lifts new sanctions and apologizes.
The U.N. Security Council's imposition of sanctions in response to the recent launch of a long-range rocket were "wanton provocations," North Korea charged.
A South Korea official viewed the threat as "very drastic."
North Korea staged its first nuclear test in June, 2006.
Experts believe North Korea can do a second nuclear test at any time, considering its plutonium stockpile and possession of several nuclear warheads, Chosun Ilbo reports say.
It appeared the tests would be prepared in any case. The foreign ministry said in a statement that "the first step in that process" was under way, namely construction of a light-water reactor power plant.
The statement also said technological development to secure its own supply of nuclear fuel would start "without delay."
A South Korean official said the steps being taken were unexpected.
"We assumed that the North would offer some kind of resistance (to the sanctions)," the official said, "but simultaneous threats to conduct a second nuclear test, push for a uranium enrichment program and test-launch a missile all at once are very drastic."
North Korea said further, "We already declared in the 1990s that we will consider it a declaration of a war if the U.N., the legitimate signatory to the armistice treaty, imposes sanctions against us. Such sanctions will never work on a nation that has lived under various kinds of sanctions and blockades imposed by hostile forces for decades."
A Japanese government official was quoted in the Sankei Shimbun newspaper as saying that since North Korea has begun reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods to extract plutonium it could be ready for a nuclear test within three months.