US says N.Korea nuclear and missile work 'of great concern'

WASHINGTON/VIENNA - The United States said on Wednesday that North Korea's nuclear program and the increased range and precision of its missiles were of great concern, a day after the isolated Asian country said it had the power to deter a US nuclear threat with a pre-emptive strike if necessary.
The US mission to International Organizations in Vienna, home to the UNs International Atomic Energy Organization, said the restart of North Korea's graphite-moderated nuclear reactor could enable it to produce additional plutonium for weapons in the near future.
"These activities are clear violations of multiple (UN) resolutions and must cease immediately," it said in a statement.
In Washington, General Vincent Brooks, commander of the US Army in the Pacific, said the United States had detected "increased militarization" of North Korea's nuclear program.
He said the increased range and precision of North Korean missiles were "of great concern" and represented a physical threat to US territory. He emphasized the need to conduct military exercises with South Korea, which have provoked increasingly heated North Korean rhetoric in recent days.
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