N. Korea warns of retaliation over food

April 17, 2012 at 4:52 PM
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PYONGYANG, North Korea, April 17 (UPI) -- North Korea said Tuesday it would retaliate against the United States for suspending food aid following the North's failed long-range rocket launch.

North Korean officials accused the United States of hostility, the North Korean Times reported. The country's Foreign Ministry also rejected as "unreasonable" the U.N. Security Council's condemnation of Friday's satellite-carrying rocket launch. North Korea has a right to develop a civilian space program, the report said.

Meanwhile, China called for more talks with North Korea while a top U.S. military official said options were being reviewed after North Korea's launch.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said history demonstrates that dialogue and consultations are the "only right way to solve problems, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

Liu commented after the Security Council issued a presidential statement that North Korea's launch raised "grave security concerns" and demanded full compliance with Security Council resolutions.

The spokesman said the Chinese government thinks it is in the best interest of all involved to resume the so-called six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Members of the six-party talks, which have been dormant since North Korea walked away in 2009, are China, Japan, the Koreas, Russia and the United States.

"China is willing to keep in close touch with all parties concerned to push the six-party talks forward and make unswerving efforts to realize long-lasting peace on the peninsula," he added.

North Korea claimed the launch was to put a satellite into orbit, but South Korea, the United States and others charge that it was a cover for testing improved intercontinental ballistic missile technology.

In Seoul, U.S. Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said Tuesday North Korea may conduct a nuclear test as a follow-up to its failed rocket launch, Yonhap News Agency reported.

"It's true that in the past that North Korean government has followed this type of missile launch with further provocations," Locklear said. "It is my hope that this will not occur, but in this case hope is not enough and I can assure you that we will work very closely with the allies in this region to monitor the situation in North Korea to prevent future provocations."

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