Seoul rebukes North Korean nuclear claim

SEOUL, May 31 (UPI) -- North Korea is isolating itself further from the international community by its disregard for conventional nuclear protocols, a South Korean official said.

North Korea early this year pledged to halt long-range missile and nuclear tests in exchange for food assistance from the United States. The deal collapsed when, shortly thereafter, Pyongyang tried to send a satellite into orbit in April using a long-range rocket.


Nuclear tests conducted in 2006 and 2009 coincided with similar rocket launches and North Korea is suspected of planning a third test.

North Korea, in a revised constitution, described itself as a nuclear weapons state.

Cho Byung-jae, a spokesman for the South Korean Foreign Ministry, was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying the claim was illegitimate.

"At first, nuclear-weapon state status is in line with the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but North Korea itself has admitted that it is not a member of the NPT," he said.

Pyongyang backed out of the NPT in 2003. Cho said that the more the country ignores its international obligations, the more it would become isolated.

North Korea last revised its constitution in 2010.


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