World News

North Korea says will restart nuclear plant if U.N. acts

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said on Thursday it would restart its nuclear plant that makes arms-grade plutonium if the United Nations punishes it for what Pyongyang plans as a satellite launch next month.

“The moment the September 19 joint statement is ignored due to such act the six-party talks will come to an end, all the processes for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula ... will be brought back to what used to be before their start and necessary strong measures will be taken,” the North’s foreign ministry spokesman said in comments carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The North’s rocket launch, planned for April 4-8, is seen by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a disguised test of a long-range missile and a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

North Korea has frozen its aging nuclear reactor and started to take apart its Yongbyon atomic plant under a deal signed by North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, the United States and China in 2005 that called for economic aid and better diplomatic standing for the isolated North in return.

Reporting by Jack Kim, Editing by Dean Yates