Tuesday, October 3, 2006
The North Korean foreign ministry has published a statement on the state news agency KCNA on Tuesday that, as a result of international pressure, the state would "in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed".
The government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official state name, declared itself in possession of nuclear weapons in 2005, but has not yet tested a nuclear weapon, the typical way that nuclear states announced their capability to the world.
The text of the statement emphasized that the government required the weapons for the purposes of deterrence, citing a threat from the United States in particular, and that DPRK would never use such weapons first or encourage their proliferation.
Western governments have however feared the idea of a nuclear North Korea, citing a history of weapons proliferation, and the United States claims that North Korea is a "state sponsor of terrorism".
Since February 2005 there have been numerous reports that North Korea was planning a nuclear test, though none of them have yet been shown to be true. While North Korea is believed to have reprocessed plutonium for a bomb, some experts had questioned whether the state had yet actually produced a nuclear weapon.
== Sources ==
"N. Korea 'to conduct nuclear test'" — CNN, October 3, 2006 "Text of North Korea's nuclear statement" — CNN, October 3, 2006