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NATO Condemns North Korea as Nuclear Evidence Emerges

April 23 (Bloomberg) -- North Korea’s continued pursuit of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons threatens international security and “seriously undermine regional stability,” the 28 foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said in a statement today.

North Korea is on the agenda at the meeting in Brussels because of the direct threat it poses to the U.S., a State Department official said. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization said today that a Japanese monitoring station had made a “significant detection” of gases probably emitted by a North Korean nuclear test on Feb. 12.

“Two radioactive isotopes of the noble gas xenon were identified, xenon-131m and xenon-133, which provide reliable information on the nuclear nature of the source,” the CBTO said on its website. The NATO foreign ministers urged North Korean leaders to abide by its UN Security Council obligations, abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and begin denuclearization.

The ministers will also discuss the situation in Syria, the wider Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as relations with Russia.

Today in Seoul, the won fell for second day, dropping 0.2 percent to 1,120.93 per dollar at the local market close. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said North Korea is ready to conduct another nuclear test “at any moment,” and has been ready since February.

Meanwhile, North Korea vowed to speed up its nuclear program after a U.S. State Department report found the country guilty of “egregious and pervasive” human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, arrests of political prisoners, torture and extrajudicial killings.

The nation will continue to strengthen its nuclear weapons program against “hostile” U.S. actions, such as the State Department report, an unidentified spokesperson for the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Gaouette in Washington at ngaouette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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