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US Warns Against North Korea Nuclear Test

Satellite image of North Korean nuclear facility, Yongbyon.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Sep 27, 2006
The United States warned Wednesday that any nuclear test by Stalinist foe North Korea would be viewed by world powers as a "very serious" escalation of the showdown over its weapons programs. Christopher Hill, US pointman on stalled six-party nuclear talks with Pyonyang, said the United States had been talking to China, Russia, South Korea and Japan about how to deter such a step.

"All parties have made it clear that this would be a very, very serious step," Hill told a congressional hearing.

"It is a very small piece of the world ... it is frankly speaking, rather shocking that anyone would even think of exploding a nuclear weapon on the Korean peninsula."

Pyongyang declared in February 2005 it had nuclear weapons, but there have been no reports of a test. Speculation has been mounting the Stalinist state may be preparing such a step.

Last July, North Korea defied international warnings and test fired seven ballistic missiles, including its long-range Taepodong-2, believed to be capable of striking America's western seaboard.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview released Monday that time was running out to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.

Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, was testifying before the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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'Final Chance' Iran-EU Nuclear Talks To Continue On Thursday
Berlin (AFP) Sep 28, 2006
Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana will on Thursday continue talks billed as a final chance for the Islamic republic to agree to a nuclear deal offered by world powers. The two men held five hours of discussions at a German government villa on Wednesday before breaking off for the night without making any comment at around 10:30 pm (2030 GMT).

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