U.S. Secretary of State Kerry gestures to South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun shortly before arrival of South Korean's President Park in Seoul

U.S. tells N.Korea new missile launch would be “huge mistake”

by Reuters  |  published on April 13, 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea on Friday it would be a “huge mistake” to test launch a medium-range missile and said the United States would never accept the reclusive country as a nuclear power.

Addressing reporters after talks with South Korea’s president and leaders of the 28,000-strong U.S. military contingent in the country, Kerry also said it was up to China, North Korea’s sole major ally, to “put some teeth” into efforts to press Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Kerry, like other U.S. officials, played down an assessment from the Pentagon’s intelligence agency that the North already had a nuclear missile capacity.

The United States, he said, wanted to resume talks about North Korea’s earlier pledges to halt its nuclear program.

But he also stressed that Washington would defend its allies in the region if necessary and pointedly said that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, “needs to understand, as I think he probably does, what the outcome of a conflict would be”.

North Korea has repeatedly said it will not abandon nuclear weapons which it said on Friday were its “treasured” guarantor of security.

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