AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
DEOUL: North Korea has warned of retaliation after the US scrapped food aid over its rocket launch, raising fears of a new nuclear test, as China reportedly suspended a refugee deal with its wayward ally.
In a defiant statement yesterday, the nuclear-armed North said it was no longer bound by a bilateral agreement to halt testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles after Washington suspended much-needed food aid. “We have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures, free from the agreement,” its foreign ministry said, accusing Washington of hostile acts. South Korean analysts said they expect the North to follow up by staging a third nuclear weapons test, or launching another long-range missile. The North also rejected condemnation by the United Nations Security Council, including its ally China, of the failed launch last Friday.
Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said today that China has suspended the refugee repatriation deal because it was not consulted about the launch, seen by the US and its allies as a covert test of ballistic missile technology.
The suspension reflects
Beijing’s displeasure with its troublesome neighbour which “did not show the necessary
attention to its friend China,”
it quoted one unidentified official as saying.
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin declined comment on the report but called for calm.