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North Korea: Nuclear tests will stop after US, South halt drills

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“We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its worldwide commitments and obligations”, said Katina Adams, a spokeswoman for the State Department’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs. The DPRK-style submarine-launched ballistic missile technology met all technical requirements for carrying out an underwater attack operation, it said.

North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong told the Associated Press in NY on Saturday that his country is ready to halt nuclear tests if the United States suspends its annual military exercises with South Korea.

That’s a much shorter than the typical distance of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which can fly at least 300 kilometres (186 miles).

“Stop the nuclear war exercises in the Korean Peninsula, then we should also cease our nuclear tests”, he said in his first interview Saturday with a Western news organization.

Kim also said that with the SLBM launch, the DPRK now possesses a powerful nuclear weapons arsenal and a credible delivery system, the news agency said.

The central committee makes key decisions for the North’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, while Juche refers to the communist country’s guiding philosophy of self-reliance.

Ri’s comments to the AP came just hours after North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine in its latest show of defiance as the U.S.-South Korea exercises wind down.

The U.S. State Department in Washington said it was aware of reports the North had launched what appeared to be a ballistic missile.

The US on Saturday slammed Pyongyang’s test as “a clear violation” of UN Security Council resolutions, saying it was watching North’s moves intently.

However, a series of test launches were believed to have been failures, and its state media carried footage that appeared to have been edited to fake success, according to experts who have seen the visuals.

A U.S. official has defended the drills as a sign of commitment to South Korea.

This year’s U.S.-South Korea military exercises were the biggest to date, sparking increased threats from the North and a recent flurry of ballistic missle testing.

On January 6, North Korea said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, its fourth nuclear test, vowing to build up its nuclear program as deterrence against potential aggression from the U.S. and its regional allies. Security experts say that acquiring the ability to fire missiles from submarines would be an alarming development for the North because missiles fired from submerged vessels are harder to detect before launch than land-based ones.

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