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Korea rejects sanctions, second nuke test feared

Seoul, Oct. 17 (Reuters): North Korea today denounced UN sanctions over its nuclear test as a declaration of war and the US and others suspected it may try a second bomb test despite international condemnation.

Defiant in the face of sanctions backed by even its closest ally, China, Pyongyang said it had withstood international pressure before and so was hardly likely to yield now that it had become “a nuclear weapons state”.

“It is quite nonsensical to expect the DPRK to yield to the pressure and threat of someone at this time when it has become a nuclear weapons state,” official media quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying. “The DPRK wants peace but is not afraid of war,” he said, referring to the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The Bush administration said it would not be surprised by a second North Korean test meant to test the will of the UN and the five states — the US, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia — engaged in long-stalled talks with Pyongyang.

“The North Koreans have made no secret of their desire to be provocative. The first test, while nuclear, did have a low yield and perhaps it would not be unreasonable to expect that the North Koreans would like to try to something again,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said in Washington. Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov also said he did not exclude the possibility of another test blast.

US news networks NBC and ABC said spy satellites had spotted what may be preparations for another nuclear test. There was no official confirmation, but a South Korean official who asked not to be named said Seoul was making preparations “with the possibility of a second test in mind”.

The New York Times said the explosion was most likely not fuelled by uranium, but rather by plutonium harvested from North Korea’s small, mothballed nuclear reactor.

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