WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a "threat" to U.S. interests in Northeast Asia, U. S. allies in the region and to the U.S. homeland.
Panetta made the comment during a press briefing at the Pentagon, condemning the "apparent" nuclear test the DPRK conducted this week. He said U.S. experts still are collecting data to determine whether it was a nuclear test or not.
"This highly provocative act was a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions" and the DPRK's own commitments under the Six-party Talks, Panetta said. "The regime's actions are increasing the risks of proliferation and further isolating" the country.
The Pentagon chief said there is "no question" that the DPRK " constitutes a threat to the United States, to regional stability, and to global security." He said a combination of missile and nuclear tests represents a "real threat to the United States of America."
"Make no mistake: the U.S. military will take all necessary steps to meet our security commitments to the Republic of Korea and to our regional allies," Panetta said.
The DPRK's official KCNA news agency said that the test was part of the country's "practical measures of counteraction" to defend its security and sovereignty against hostile U.S. policies that have violated the DPRK's "rights to launch satellite for peaceful purposes."
The UN Security Council on Tuesday strongly condemned the nuclear test, saying the latest move by Pyongyang "is a grave violation" of relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
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