N.Korea Hints at 4th Nuke Test

North Korea on Monday hinted at the possibility of another nuclear test, saying it may take further steps to demonstrate its "nuclear deterrent."

Ri Tong-il /AP-Newsis Ri Tong-il /AP-Newsis

In a press conference at UN headquarters in New York on Monday, Pyongyang's deputy chief of mission to the UN Ri Tong-il accused the U.S. of continuing "hostile" policies aimed at heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula and undermining the North even after it put forth "important proposals," including suspension of cross-border vilification.

The North has taken umbrage at recent sharp UN condemnation of its human rights abuses.

Ri warned unless the U.S. stops "nuclear threats" against the North, the regime will have to take additional measures to display its "nuclear deterrent."

He said the North's recent launches of short-range rockets and ballistic missiles were a self-defensive, routine exercise. They coincided with annual South Korea-U.S. military drills in the region.

Ri countered UN condemnation of human rights abuses in the North with the claim that South Korean agents are kidnapping North Koreans in the Chinese border areas, brainwashing them, and using them for propaganda purposes.

The UN condemnation was nothing but "a preposterous fuss" forming part of the U.S. overall hostile policy, he added.

Meanwhile, in a report on March 3, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government singled out North Korea as a nuclear proliferation risk, warning of the danger of the regime supplying or selling nuclear weapons or materials to terrorists.

Nuclear materials and weapons stockpiles are increasing in the North, Prof. Matthew Bunn says in the report, and leader Kim Jong-un could be tempted to sell them to terrorists if his regime is under threat.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 26, 2014 12:59 KST