North Korea reconfirmed on Tuesday that it has nuclear weapons and demanded the United States give it "nuclear cooperation" instead of seeking to disarm it.
The announcement risked escalating tensions in the prolonged standoff over the North's nuclear program, clouding the prospect of resumption of six-nation talks on the dispute.
"We have built nuclear weapons for no other purpose than to counter US nuclear threats," said a spokesman for the North's Foreign Ministry, according to the North's Korean Central News Agency.
"If the US is truly interested in finding a realistic way of resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, it would be wise for it to come out on the path of nuclear cooperation with us" even though the North is not currently a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, he said.
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