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North Korean ICBM and nuclear weapons pose a threat: Panetta

WASHINGTON (PTI): The North Korean nuclear weapons and the intercontinental ballistic missiles pose a threat to US, Leon Panetta US Defence Secretary has said.

"We have been dealing with the threat from North Korea for a long time now in terms of their developing intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach our homeland and could obviously reach other countries in that region. That's a threat," Panetta told reporters on Thursday during a Pentagon news conference.

"They have developed nuclear weapons. That's a threat. In addition to that, they continue to enrich uranium in violation of every international rule and that's a threat," he said.

"As a result of that, we're doing everything we can to defend ourselves against that potential threat and that includes the efforts by South Korea to be able to protect itself in the event that it becomes the target for that kind of attack," Panetta said.

"So it's for all those reasons that we are working closely not only with South Korea but with Japan and other countries in the region to make sure that we can defend ourselves against the kind of provocation and threats that emerge out of North Korea," he said responding to questions from reporters.

A day earlier the South Korean Defence Minister had said that North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test.

However, Panetta said he has not seen any intelligence information in that regard.

"I have not seen intelligence that has indicated that this was imminent. We always get intelligence that, you know, they continue to make plans for this, but I have not seen, at least intelligence that I've noted, that indicates that it's imminent," he said.


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