SEOUL - A bristling North Korea said on Wednesday it was ready to retaliate in the face of international condemnation over its failed rocket launch, increasing the likelihood the hermit state will push ahead with a third nuclear test.
The North also ditched an agreement to allow back inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. That followed a US decision, in response to a rocket launch the United States says was a disguised long-range missile test, to break off a deal earlier this year to provide the impoverished state with food aid.
Pyongyang called the US move a hostile act and said it was no longer bound to stick to its side of the Feb. 29 agreement, dashing any hopes that new leader Kim Jong-un would soften a foreign policy that has for years been based on the threat of an atomic arsenal to leverage concessions out of regional powers.
"We have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures, free from the agreement," the official KCNA news agency said, without specifying what actions it might take.