Kerry links nuke test to Iran problem

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Kerry links nuke test to Iran problem

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Wednesday for a quick and tough response by the international community to North Korea’s nuclear test earlier this week.

He emphasized the seriousness of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, describing them as a grave challenge to global security and to Washington’s goal of nonproliferation.

“The international community now needs to come together with a swift and clear, strong, credible response, as pledged in the UN Security Council Resolution 2087,” the secretary said in a press conference after talks with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh.

He was referring to a resolution to expand and tighten sanctions on North Korea for its long-range rocket launch conducted in December.

Kerry, a former senator known for expertise in foreign affairs, said dealing with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions is associated with an effort to tackle Iran’s nuclear drive.

“My message about this is really simple, that this is not only about the DPRK [North Korea] and its continued flaunting of its obligations under three separate UN Security Council resolutions; this is about proliferation. And this is also about Iran,” he said.

Kerry recalled President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday in which he made clear that Washington will continue to take the initiative in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The second Obama administration is seeking to bolster global nonproliferation, reduce global stockpiles and secure nuclear materials, officials said.

Meanwhile, outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta held a phone conversation with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Wednesday, according to the Pentagon.

They discussed “immediate coordinated actions and continuing collaboration in the wake of North Korea’s highly provocative nuclear test,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said .

Panetta reaffirmed the U.S. commitment, including extended deterrence, to defend South Korea from aggression, he added.

Yonhap

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