South Korea backtracks on nuclear test claim as tensions continue to rise across region
A government official said that Mr Ryoo had intended to say that North Korea has long been ready to conduct a nuclear test
Monday 08 April 2013
South Korea has today backtracked on claims by one of its ministers that a North Korean nuclear test was imminent.
Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told a parliamentary committee that "there is such an indication" of nuclear test preparations at Pyongyang's site in the country's north-east.
A few hours later the minister insisted that he had been mistaken and that there were no indications that the North was about to carry out a nuclear test.
A government official said that Mr Ryoo had intended to say that North Korea has long been ready to conduct a nuclear test.
Meanwhile North Korea announced today it was pulling out all its workers from the Kaesong industrial complex which it shares with the South.
Pyongyang said it will recall 51,000 of its workers and suspend operations at a factory complex which is the last major symbol of co-operation with its southern rival.
The Kaesong complex combines cheap North Korean labour and South Korean know-how and technology. It is the last remaining inter-Korean rapprochement projects from previous eras of co-operation.
The mistaken comment by the South Korea minister prompted a strong statement from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who called on North Korea not to carry out a new test, saying it would be a "provocative" act.
Either a nuclear test or a missile test would escalate tensions that have been rising for weeks on the Korean Peninsula, and could invite a new round of UN Security Council sanctions over North Korea's nuclear and rocket activity.
The US and South Korea have been raising their defence posture, and foreign diplomats were considering a warning from Pyongyang that their safety in North Korea could not be guaranteed beginning on Wednesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also called for calm today on the Korean peninsula and praised the United States for postponing a missile test.
Putin said during a visit to Germany on Monday that the escalating tensions worry Russia, a neighbor of North Korea.
The Pentagon has postponed a scheduled missile test to avoid raising the tensions further. Putin said at a news conference that the decision was a "very important and correct step."
He said: "We hope that this step will be noticed by our partners in North Korea and that the correct conclusions will be made, that all will calm down and begin the joint work so that the situation will become less tense."
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
People are criticising Fifa World Cup sponsors with corrupt corporate logos
Natalie Portman tells Harvard graduates: 'Accept your lack of knowledge'
British tourists complain impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Fifa corruption live: Sebb Blatter warns 'more bad news may follow' as he clings to power
Skull found in Spain could be the world's first-ever murder victim
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...