N. Korea's other nuke crisis: nuclear reactor safety

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North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations on Friday ignored a US call for a cessation of weapons testing to allow for talks with Pyongyang on its nuclear program and said his country would not pose a threat to any state, as long as its interests were not infringed upon.

North Korea's growing nuclear capabilities amount to a "direct threat to our security and the security of the entire world", Tillerson told the 15-nation council at a high-level meeting on nuclear nonproliferation convened by Japan, which now holds the UNSC rotating presidency. "We do not seek, nor do we want, war with North Korea".

"The United States will use all necessary measures to defend itself against North Korean aggression, but our hope remains that diplomacy will produce a resolution". His prepared remarks suggested only that North Korea would have to undertake a sustained halt in its threatening behavior before talks could begin.

"The ability of North Korea to safely operate its nuclear reactors, according to many experts, is increasingly being called into question given the North's isolation and lack of safety culture", Korda wrote in a Thursday analysis for the Johns Hopkins University website on North Korean affairs.

"The pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved", Tillerson said.

Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump became embroiled in a rhetoric war after the North Korean dictator said he would target a US airbase on the Pacific Island of Guam.

Throughout the year, the regime has also conducted 20 ballistic missile launches, including the first tests of two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), as well as new medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

"I am deeply concerned by the risk of military confrontation, including as a result of unintended miscalculation", U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned the council.

"Similarly, as Chinese crude oil flows to North Korean refineries, the United States questions China's commitment to solving an issue that has serious implications for the security of its own citizens", he added. On Wednesday, a National Security Council spokesperson said North Korea must not only first refrain from provocations but take "sincere and meaningful actions toward denuclearization" for talks to happen.

Tillerson said that continuing to allow North Korean laborers to toil in "slave-like conditions" for wages used to fund nuclear weapons "calls into question Russia's dedication as a partner for peace".

In an exchange with reporters at the Pentagon on Friday, Mattis was asked whether the missile test indicated an imminent threat of nuclear attack on the U.S. China's deputy United Nations ambassador, Wu Haitao, called for early resumption of dialogue, saying "the parties concerned should move towards each other" instead of directing blame. Before his Tuesday remarks, the USA had called for a suspension of nuclear and missile testing and demonstration of North Korea's sincerity about denuclearization.

U.S. President Donald Trump's meeting with families of abductees in November during a visit to Japan raised their hope for more public awareness and global support. "It is time to immediately re-establish and strengthen communication channels". It said North Korea's actions "are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea".

"We'd like to have Russia's help - very important", said Trump. "We can talk about the weather if you want".

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