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Possible North Korean A-test Called ‘Troubling’

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2006 – A North Korean announcement that the rogue nation will conduct nuclear weapons tests is “troubling,” a senior Defense Department official said here today.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that if North Korea were to conduct such a test, “it would only further isolate them from the international community.”

President Bush has said repeatedly that he will rely on diplomacy and a united front to get the North Korean regime to stop its nuclear weapons program. The United States is part of the Six-Party Talks aimed at negotiating with the North Koreans. The other countries are South Korea, Japan, Russia and China.

North Korea has sacrificed its people for military power. The country has the fourth-largest military in the world, with 1.2 million men under arms. At the same time, the North Korean people are starving. The nation has worked to develop nuclear weapons, the means to deliver them and also worked on a chemical and biological capability.

In January 2003, North Korea withdrew from the international Non-Proliferation Treaty, and in mid-year it announced it had completed the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods to extract weapons-grade plutonium. Then-CIA Director George Tenet said North Korea had possibly two plutonium-based nuclear weapons, and was working on ballistic missile technology powerful enough to hit the United States.

The North Korean announcement did not set a date or time for the test, and American officials would not comment on intelligence about the possible test.

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