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Sanctions tantamount to war: N Korea official

india Updated: Oct 11, 2006 12:34 IST
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A North Korean official said on Wednesday that the communist nation would regard sanctions against it after its claimed nuclear test as tantamount to a declaration of war, Yonhap news agency reported.

"Sanctions are nonsense. If full-scale sanctions take place, we will regard it as a declaration of war," the official based in Beijing, who wasn't identified, told Yonhap.

"Why is the UN, which didn't raise any problem when India received nuclear technology from the US, trying to sanction us?" he said.

The official said a naval blockade would be considered part of full-scale sanctions.

"The more pressure we get, the stronger our response will be," he said.

The statement is a repetition of the North's long-held stance on sanctions.

The North Korean also said he doesn't know if North Korea is preparing a second nuclear test, but the North will decide whether to carry out another test "according to the development of the situation".

The North's return to international talks on its nuclear program depends on the US, the official said, adding that unless Washington has a willingness to improve relations with the North, the nuclear talks would be a "waste of time".

The official said North Korea wants simultaneous action with the US to resolve the crisis, where Washington would give up its "hostile policy" toward the North and Pyongyang gives up its nuclear program.

"We can give up nuclear weapons even now, if the US promises not to take a hostile attitude or actions," he said.

North Korea has long accused the US of plotting to overthrow its communist regime, despite repeated assertions from Washington that it has no intention of attacking or overthrowing the North.

North Korea has stayed away from nuclear disarmament talks with China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US for a year, citing US efforts to cut off the North's access to international banking in response to its alleged currency counterfeiting and money laundering.

The North Korean official repeated that demand Wednesday, accusing Washington of imposing the financial restrictions without evidence of wrongdoing.

Separately, a North Korean diplomat said that the country's announced nuclear test was smaller in blast force than expected, but asserted that Pyongyang was able to detonate a more powerful device, a South Korean newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Hankyoreh daily didn't name the diplomat at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing but quoted him as saying the test was a success and "smaller in scale than expected."

"But the success in a small-scale (test) means a large-scale (test) is also possible," he said.

The diplomat also said that the North could take "additional measures" such as putting a nuclear warhead on a missile, and that the communist nation doesn't fear sanctions.

"The US should show its dialogue attitude in action if it wants to solve the problem," he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday, according to the paper.

"Otherwise, we continue to go on this footing. We have been under sanctions so far, and therefore there won't be greater hardship for us."

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