N. Korea says it will conduct nuclear test

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North Korea today said it would conduct a nuclear test as part of measures to bolster its self-defence amid what it calls increasing US hostility toward the communist regime.

"The DPRK will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed," the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, using its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The statement gave no precise date as to when a test might occur.

Pyongyang has said it has nuclear weapons, but has not conducted any known test to prove its claim.

"The US extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering nuclear deterrent, as a corresponding measure for defence," said the statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

The North's "nuclear weapons will serve as reliable war deterrent for protecting the supreme interests of the state and the security of the Korean nation from the US threat of aggression and averting a new war and firmly safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean peninsula under any circumstances," the statement said.