N Korea 'deepening isolation'

2009-05-27 22:11

Washington - The United States views North Korea's recent threats as "sabre-rattling and bluster" that will only deepen the country's isolation from the world, the White House said on Wednesday.

"We're certainly concerned and take any threat seriously. But my sense is they're trying to get renewed attention through sabre-rattling and bluster and threats," said spokesperson Robert Gibbs.

And "threats won't get North Korea the attention it craves. Their actions are continuing to further deepen their own isolation, from the international community", Gibbs told reporters.

North Korea said earlier it was abandoning the truce that ended the Korean war and warned it could launch a military attack on the South, two days after testing an atomic bomb for the second time.

"This is the fifth time in 15 years that they've sought to nullify the armistice governing the Korean War," said Gibbs, adding: "I think their actions would be better focused on living up to their rights and obligations."

Producing weapons-grade plutonium

North Korea's announcements came amid reports that the secretive country, which outraged the international community with its bomb test on Monday, was restarting work to produce more weapons-grade plutonium.

Defying global condemnation, the regime of Kim Jong-Il said it could no longer guarantee the safety of US and South Korean ships off its west coast and that the Korean peninsula was veering back towards war.

The North's anger was provoked by the South's decision to join a US-led international security initiative, established after the September 11 attacks to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

"This is not doing them any good," said Gibbs, who warned Pyongyang it was moving "farther and farther away" from its commitments in six-country talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

The United States and its allies are doing "all that we can" to ensure that the Stalinist regime is not spreading nuclear know-how, said the spokesperson.