President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama hold a bilateral meeting on March 27 on the sidelines of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. Photo: AFP
North Korea Tuesday slammed claims it was planning another nuclear test, as US special envoy on North Korea Glyn Davies arrived in Beijing for talks with China's chief nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei.
Allegations of an upcoming nuclear test were fabricated by the US and other powers, North Korea's foreign ministry said.
It added that Pyongyang only plans to develop satellite technology for peaceful purposes and has no intention of carrying out nuclear tests or any other military maneuvers.
The statement came in response to a G8 declaration Saturday condemning the North's failed long-range rocket launch on April 13. The bloc said it would press for UN action against any further rocket launches or nuclear tests by Pyongyang.
Satellite photos last month showed work was underway at North Korea's atomic test site, but gave no indication of whether or when a test would be staged. North Korea responded with nuclear tests after the UN imposed sanctions against its rocket launches in 2006 and 2009.
Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, told the Global Times that the timing of North Korea's next nuclear test depends on its technological progress.
"(North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un has made it clear that nuclear weaponry is a revolutionary legacy of his father, meaning that the North will never give up its pursuit of nuclear technology," Zhang said, adding that reaching a diplomatic solution for the nuclear issue remains difficult.
"Previous economic and political sanctions have proven useless, so military sanctions loom as an option for the West if Pyongyang conducts its third nuclear test. Some acts of provocation by Kim since taking over power from his father have fueled uncertainty over the stability of the Korean Peninsula," Zhang added.
Davies told reporters in Beijing Tuesday that stability on the Korean Peninsula is in the fundamental interests of both China and the US.
However, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Pyongyang's nuclear deterrent was a response to US hostility, adding the country will "expand and bolster [its nuclear program] non-stop as long as hostile policy goes on."
"If the US persists in its moves to ratchet up sanctions and put pressure upon us, we will be left with no option but to take counter-measures for self-defense," the KCNA said Tuesday, without specifying whether a nuclear test was one of those options.
According to the Seoul-based Dong-a Ilbo newspaper, US forces stationed in South Korea will immediately evacuate 220,000 Americans and nationals of allied nations from South Korea in the event of contingencies, such as a North Korean invasion.
"Those included in the operation are assumed to be 140,000 American citizens and 80,000 citizens of US allies," a source from the South Korean armed forces told the newspaper Monday.
US forces in South Korea conduct the drill twice annually to practice evacuating Americans from the South and bringing them to the US via Japan. In the drill, 30 to 50 applicants are chosen from families of US forces and civilian workers in the military, the report said.
Agencies contributed to this story