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Australia calls NKorea `impudent' for nuclear test plan

Australia calls NKorea `impudent' for nuclear test plan

Key U.S. ally Australia called North Korea's planned nuclear weapons test impudent and offensive _ among the strongest condemnation of the declaration that deepened the international standoff with the reclusive country and unsettled the region.
Canberra, one of few close military allies of Washington to maintain diplomatic ties with Pyongyang, was seeking an urgent meeting with North Korean Ambassador Chon Jae Hong to get an explanation of Tuesday's announcement, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.
Pak Myong-guk, an official at the North's embassy in Australia, denied that the announcement was provocative and defended the planned test as a necessary deterrent to U.S. aggression and economic sanctions.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the North's announcement would be a test of the effectiveness of the United Nations, who's new chief is expected to be the current South Korean foreign minister, Ban Ki-moon.
"This is a defiant, impudent act by North Korea," Howard told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
"I hope that the combined diplomatic pressure of the United Nations, with the full support of the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia ... can bring to the North Koreans the reality that the rest of the world regards them as behaving in a diplomatic way as the international outlaw," he said.
Downer said the North Korean announcement was "highly provocative. It's deeply offensive to the whole of the region."
New Zealand also decried the announcement.
"North Korea's statement is intolerable, and New Zealand joins others in the international community in condemning it," Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement. "If this threat is carried out, North Korea can expect a harsh response from the international community."
Pak, who described his title as minister at the embassy in Canberra, echoed the wording of Tuesday's official announcement by Pyongyang that the North was compelled to conduct a nuclear test at some time in the future as a deterrent.
"The situation on the Korean Peninsula is very, very tense, it may be breaking out in war at any time," he told The Associated Press, a situation he said was aggravated by Washington's military stance and economic pressure on the North.
"These kinds of threats of nuclear war and sanctions and pressure by the United States compel us to conduct a nuclear test," he said. "It is the essential process for nuclear deterrent as a corresponding measure for defense."
He said the North would never use nuclear weapons first or contribute to the nuclear weapons proliferation. The North wants to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and help end the nuclear threat worldwide.


Updated : 2021-05-06 23:55 GMT+08:00