Breaking News: N Korea ‘to conduct nuclear test’

North Korea is to conduct a nuclear test, the foreign ministry has said in a statement. The move would “bolster” the country’s self-defence in the face of US military hostility, North Korea’s official KCNA said.

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Seoul steps up watch for N-test

SOUTH Korea raised its security level last night after the North’s announcement that it would conduct a nuclear test, the strongest blow yet to efforts to convince Pyongyang to give up its drive for nuclear weapons.>

A high-level South Korean official said Seoul “is handling this matter based on the principle of zero tolerance for North Korea’s nuclear arsenal”, which has never been tested. Other officials said the South would step up surveillance to detect any sign of a test.

A statement from the presidential office said national security levels had been raised after an emergency meeting led by the presidential security adviser, at which the Government “reviewed the current situation and the way the Government would respond” in case of a North Korea nuclear test.

“The Government has taken measures to strengthen the security level in relation to the North Korea nuclear test, and has begun discussions with related countries,” the statement said.

World leaders urge North Korea to abandon nuclear test plans

TOKYO World leaders warned Tuesday that North Korea will disrupt world peace and stability if it goes ahead with a nuclear test, and urged the reclusive communist nation to reconsider its plan.

Pyongyang said Tuesday it will conduct a nuclear test “in the future” to bolster its self-defense, saying it was compelled to do so because of an “extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure” from the United States.

It is the first time the North has publicly announced its intention to conduct a nuclear test.

China, Russia, the United States, Japan and South Korea have all taken part in talks to persuade the North to freeze its nuclear development program, but that process has been stalled for nearly a year. Pyongyang has refused to resume the talks unless the U.S. withdraws financial sanctions imposed on the country, and in July drew international condemnation by test-firing seven missiles.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, who is traveling with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Middle East, said Tuesday that a North Korean nuclear test would “pose an unacceptable threat to peace and stability in Asia and the world.”

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