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N. Korea issues threat to Washington

A North Korean official threatened that the communist nation could fire a nuclear-tipped missile unless the US acts to resolve its standoff with Pyongyang, Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.

"We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes," the unnamed official said on Monday, according to a Yonhap report from Beijing. "That depends on how the US will act."

Earlier, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that North Korean official said that Pyongyang was willing to return to international arms talks and abandon its atomic program if the US takes "corresponding measures."

"The nuclear test is an _expression of our intention to face the United States across the negotiating table," the unnamed official said, according to a Yonhap report from Beijing. "What we want is security of the (North), including guaranteeing our system."

Yonhap didn't say how or where it contacted the official, or why no name was given.

The official also dismissed moves at the UN Security Council to sanction the communist nation over its reported nuclear test.

"We have lost enough. Sanctions can never be a solution," the official said. "We still have a willingness to give up nuclear weapons and return to six-party talks as well. It's possible whenever the US takes corresponding measures."
The official didn't elaborate on what the corresponding measures would be. But one of them is believed to be a long-standing North Korean demand that Washington lift financial restrictions on the communist regime for its alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.

North Korea has cited the financial issue in boycotting nuclear talks with China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US The talks last convened in November.

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