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THE WORLD | IN BRIEF / NORTH KOREA

Government Hints It May Test Nuclear Device

October 17, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

North Korea hinted it might test an atomic weapon, a move that would be a major escalation in the standoff over its nuclear ambitions. It said it would "open its nuclear deterrent to the public as a physical force."

In Washington, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell reacted cautiously. "They have said things like this before," he said. "I just don't know if they mean it."

North Korean negotiators reportedly also threatened in August to test a nuclear device.

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