North Korea on Tuesday said it would be compelled to carry out a nuclear weapons test in future due to threats and sanctions from the United States, the official
news agency reported.
No date or time was given for the planned test, announced in a foreign ministry statement carried by the agency.
"The US extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK (North Korea) to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering nuclear deterrent, as a corresponding measure for defence," it said.
The statement by the secretive communist regime reiterated the claim that it had already developed the atomic bomb.
"The already declared possession of nuclear weapons presupposes the nuclear test," it said, adding: "The DPRK will never use nuclear weapons first."
It said the North had been exposed to "nuclear threat and blackmail" from the United States, which said had been aimed at "isolating and stifling the ideology and system chosen by its people."
North Korea declared in February 2005 that it had built nuclear weapons and the CIA has stated in the past that it believes Pyongyang has created several crude nuclear bombs.
The United States, the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan signed a joint statement in September last year under which the North would abandon its nuclear programme in return for energy and economic aid, eventual diplomatic benefits and security guarantees.
But two months later, North Korea boycotted the forum in protest over US sanctions on a Macau bank which allegedly helped it pass counterfeit US dollars and launder funds.