WASHINGTON—The United States has warned North Korea to stop threatening to conduct a new nuclear test, saying the reclusive Stalinist state is only deepening its isolation.
"These threats only further isolate the North," State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters, after the latest escalation since Pyongyang’s April 5 rocket launch.
“The North needs to come back to the table … The North needs to stop making these threats.”
North Korea threatened Wednesday to conduct nuclear tests and test-firings of intercontinental ballistic missiles unless the U.N. Security Council apologizes for condemning its long-range rocket launch.
"I don't think you'll see an apology from the Security Council," Wood said.
The threat by North Korea’s Foreign Ministry further raised regional tensions after its rocket launch earlier this month.
Pyongyang said it put a peaceful satellite into orbit, while other nations have called the launch a disguised missile test.
The Security Council condemned the launch and ordered tougher enforcement of sanctions imposed in 2006 after another missile launch and first nuclear test by the North earlier that year.
Pyongyang has announced it is quitting six-party nuclear disarmament talks and is restarting plants at Yongbyon that produced weapons-grade plutonium.
Hours after initial U.N. moves to toughen sanctions—which would freeze the foreign assets of three North Korean firms suspected of aiding the missile program—North Korea said work had begun to reprocess spent fuel rods.
North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006. But it signed a landmark six-nation deal to disable its atomic plants in return for energy aid and other concessions four months later.
Original reporting by RFA's Korean service. Service director: Francis Huh. Additional reporting by Reuters and Agence France-Presse. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.