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North Korea hints at second nuclear test

india Updated: Oct 25, 2006 16:58 IST
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North Korea has indicated for the first time that it may be preparing to carry out a second nuclear weapons test.

Asked by ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer during her show on Wednesday whether rumours of a second test were true, the deputy head of North Korea's foreign ministry Li Gun declined to directly confirm or deny the reports.

But he said such a test would be "natural", according to the ABC News website.

"Even if there is a ... nuclear test, that is natural, so we don't have to care much about this issue. I think the test itself will be natural," he told Sawyer, who is currently filming in Pyongyang.

Asked if the United States should not be surprised by a second test, Li said, "That's right, yes."

US, Japanese and South Korean officials have all warned this week that North Korea appears to be preparing to test a second nuclear weapon following its first test last week, which drew global condemnation.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday warned North Korea against a second test, threatening further penalties if it went ahead.

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