SEOUL: North Korea broke off an agreement to halt testing of nuclear devices and long-range missiles after the U.S. suspended food aid to the country following last week’s failed rocket launch.
Consequently, the country now is free to take necessary retaliatory measures after U.S. withdrew 240,000 tons of food aid, revealed by North Korean’s Foreign Ministry said today. “The U.S. will be held wholly accountable for all the ensuing consequences.”
The Obama administration pressed North Korea not to go ahead with the April 13 rocket firing, which disintegrated minutes after liftoff, saying it would nullify the Feb. 29 accord to provide food in return for the suspension of nuclear and missile tests.
South Korea said the result may lead new leader Kim Jong Un to compensate for the failure by testing a nuclear device.
North Korea’s statement is “not surprising, given their recent behavior,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington.
Asked whether the U.S. had information North Korea was preparing to test a nuclear device, he said, “there’s been this pattern of bad behavior, if you will. So we can’t preclude anything at this point.” (Bloomberg/t01)