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Terrorism & Security

North Korea declares food-for-nukes deal over

Citing the United States' postponement of delivery of food aid, North Korea says that it is no longer obligated to hold off on nuclear development.

By Staff writer / April 18, 2012

In this April 15 photo, a North Korean vehicle carrying what appears to be a new missile passes by during a mass military parade in the Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang. North Korea said late Tuesday that because the US had reneged on its end of a food-for-nukes agreement, they are no longer obligated to hold off on nuclear development.

Ng Han Guan/AP

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North Korea said late yesterday that because the US had reneged on its end of a food-for-nukes agreement, North Korea was no longer obligated to uphold a moratorium on nuclear development.

''We have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures, free from the agreement," the foreign ministry said, according to the BBC

"The US will be held wholly accountable for all the ensuing consequences,'' it said. ''Peace is very dear for us but the dignity of the nation and the sovereignty of the country are dearer for us."

Washington was supposed to provide 240,000 tons of food aid to North Korea in exchange for Pyongyang's cessation of uranium enrichment and nuclear and missile tests. But the US postponed food shipments after Pyongyang's plans to launch a rocket became public; the US warned that going through with the launch would abrogate the agreement. The rocket launch – which the North said was to launch a satellite but which others saw as a test of ballistic missile technology – was carried out last week, but ultimately failed. Observers believe another nuclear test – the country's third – is now on the horizon, Agence France-Presse reports.

The rocket launch was strongly criticized by the US, the United Nations, and even North Korean ally China. Two days ago, the UN Security Council "strongly condemned" its actions, calling for further sanctions and other punitive action.

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