Washington: North Korea has said that it would "review the nuclear issue" after arresting a North Korean defector for allegedly plotting to destroy statues of the late leader Kim Il Sung, at the behest of the United States and South Korea.
Jon Yong Chol said that South Korean and US intelligence agencies had ordered him to return to the country to blow up statues and monuments, in a bid to make it appear that North Korea was suffering internal unrest.
While South Korea has denied the allegation as groundless, a government official dismissed the idea as an "improbable plot”.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry in a statement said that, by backing the plot, the US had violated a deal with Pyongyang to pull back on its nuclear program.
“The situation forces us to completely review the nuclear issue,” the Los Angeles Times quoted the ministry, as saying.
A failed North Korean rocket launch earlier this year, widely believed to be a cover for testing its ballistic missile technology, had reportedly spurred fears that the country would turn next to a nuclear test, as it did after unsuccessful launches in 2006 and 2009, the paper said.
Earlier this year, North Korea said it had no plans to carry out a nuclear test, but the Friday announcement spurred speculation over whether the country's leadership could be reconsidering its stance.
First Published: Saturday, July 21, 2012, 18:08