Further N. Korean nuclear test possible - UK envoy

LONDON Fri Jul 3, 2009 6:13pm IST

A North Korean soldier stands on the bank of Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, July 3, 2009. REUTERS/Jacky Chen

A North Korean soldier stands on the bank of Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, July 3, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Jacky Chen

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain thinks it is possible North Korea will carry out a further nuclear test, its ambassador to Pyongyang said on Friday.

North Korea carried out a nuclear test in May which experts said put it closer to having a working nuclear bomb.

"We cannot rule out that a further nuclear test will take place," Peter Hughes, the British ambassador to North Korea, said in a news conference with reporters in London via video link from Pyongyang.

"Yesterday, two short-range missiles were launched and you'll have seen reports that there may be a launch of an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) in the coming days or weeks," he said.

North Korea launched a rocket in April in what was widely seen as a disguised long-range missile test that violated U.N. resolutions banning it from ballistic missile launches.

It test-fired short-range missiles on Thursday. Officials and news reports in South Korea said four short-range missiles had been fired.

Last month, tHe U.N. Security Council approved wider sanctions against North Korea over the nuclear test, banning all weapons exports from North Korea and most arms imports into the secretive communist state.

Hughes said North Korea's response to British concerns over its recent actions had been that "the threat towards their country is intensifying and they have no other option but to strengthen their deterrent".

"I have seen no willingness on their part to re-engage in negotiations whatsoever," he said.

However, he said Britain hoped that "sanctions, together with the wider framework of measures, ... will put sufficient pressure on the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) to reconsider its position on negotiations".

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