World

North Korea says nuclear arms are not negotiation

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Wednesday that its nuclear weapon program was no longer negotiable and indicated that it might conduct its third nuclear test to retaliate against the United Nations Security Council’s tightening of sanctions against the isolated yet highly militarized country.

Although it was not the first time North Korea issued such strident rhetoric, its posture, coming under the new leadership of Kim Jong Un, threw a direct challenge to President Obama as he starts his second term, and Park Geun-hye, who will be sworn in as South Korea president next month.

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After years of tensions with North Korea, both Obama and Park have said they were keeping the door open for talks with North Korea on the premise that such engagement should lead to an eventual dismantling of its nuclear arms program.

The North’s comments came as the United States reaffirmed its policy of punishing North Korea for moving toward the development of long-range missiles tipped with a nuclear warhead, spearheading international backing for a unanimous Security Council resolution Tuesday.

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