South Korean official says he misspoke about nuke test
North Korea warned nations with embassies in Pyongyang that it would not be able to guarantee the safety of their staffs as of Wednesday.
The confusion over a possible nuclear test came a day after another top South Korean official said a North Korean missile test may be in the works around Wednesday.
Either a nuclear test or a missile test would escalate tensions that have been rising for weeks on the Korean Peninsula, and would likely invite a new round of UN Security Council sanctions over North Korea`s nuclear and rocket activity.
The US and South Korea have been raising their defense posture, and foreign diplomats were considering a warning from Pyongyang that their safety in North Korea could not be guaranteed beginning Wednesday.
After Ryoo`s initial comment, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged North Korea today not to carry out a new nuclear test, saying it would be a "provocative" act amid soaring tensions.
"I have repeatedly expressed my great concern about the continued inflammatory rhetoric from Pyongyang," Ban told reporters in the Netherlands after meeting Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans. "Making any threat relating to nuclear weapons is not a game."
North Korea has unleashed a flurry of war threats and provocations over UN sanctions for its last nuclear test, and over ongoing US-South Korean military drills, which the allies say are routine but Pyongyang says is a preparation for a northward invasion.
Last week, North Korea warned nations with embassies in Pyongyang that it would not be able to guarantee the safety of their staffs as of Wednesday.
The warning prompted South Korean President Park Geun-hye`s national security director to say that Pyongyang may be planning a missile launch or another provocation around Wednesday, according to presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing.