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'No signs of imminent N Korean nuclear test'

The officials says that the preparations are similar to steps taken by Pyongyang before it conducted its first nuclear test.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 10:21 IST

Another nuclear test by North Korea does not appear to be immiment, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said on Friday, following a US media report that another test could come at any time.

"We see no major development in the situation," Aso said, noting that there has been speculation about a possible second test since North Korea detonated its first nuclear bomb on October 9, triggering outcry in Japan.

Asked by reporters if there was any urgency to the situation, he said: "Not really."

US television network ABC reported on Thursday that North Korea appears to have prepared for a second nuclear weapons test, citing US defence officials.

The officials said the preparations were similar to steps taken by Pyongyang before it conducted its first nuclear test on October 9, the report said.

But ABC also said the US intelligence community is divided about whether another test is likely.

Six-nation negotiations aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear programs were held in Beijing in December after a 13-month hiatus due to Pyongyang's boycott over US financial sanctions.

But participating nations -- the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia -- failed to make substantive progress as the North insisted lifting of US financial sanctions be discussed first.