SEOUL - North Korea said Tuesday that it was abandoning an agreement it made in February with the United States, in which it promised to suspend uranium enrichment, nuclear tests, and long-range missile tests.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that it “resolutely and totally’’ rejected the UN Security Council’s condemnation of its failed rocket launching last week and that it would continue to launch rockets to try to place satellites into orbit.
The ministry’s statement hinted, but did not make clear, that the North may now conduct a long-range missile or nuclear test.
No longer bound by the deal, “we have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures,’’ the ministry said in the statement, which was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “The US will be held wholly accountable for all the ensuing consequences.’’
The United States had already suspended its side of the deal because of the rocket launching, including delivery of 240,000 tons of food aid promised to the North.
The collapse of the deal cost the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency a chance to send inspectors into the isolated country for the first time in three years. And analysts said it made further North Korean provocations more likely.
North Korea argued Tuesday that Washington was the first to renege on the February deal, by suspending the food aid and pressing the Security Council to condemn the rocket launching. In the deal, Washington had promised not to have “hostile intent’’ against the North.
Analysts have long questioned the effectiveness of sanctions against North Korea. Some analysts said Tuesday that China may have broken a Security Council resolution by providing 16-wheel missile-launching vehicles that were seen in a military parade in Pyongyang.
Ted Parsons of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly pointed out similarities to a known Chinese vehicle: “The same windscreen design, the same four-windscreen wiper configuration, the same door and handle design, a very similar grill area, almost the same front bumper lighting configuration and the same design for the cabin steps.’’