The United States warned Wednesday that North Korea will face “severe consequences” if it continues with what Washington sees as its provocative decision to restart a nuclear reactor. Pyongyang has said it has restarted the long-mothballed Yongbyon reactor, which is capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium, and has threatened to launch a rocket which US officials see as a test-bed for ballistic missile technology. Challenged as to whether Washington could respond credibly to the North Korean moves after earlier striking a deal to allow Iran’s nuclear program to continue under international supervision, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted it could.

“There will be severe consequences as we go forward if North Korea does not refrain from its irresponsible provocations that aggravate regional concerns, make the region less safe, and if it refuses to live up to its international obligations,” he said. “Our position is clear: We will not accept a DPRK — North Korea — as a nuclear weapons state, just as we said that about Iran.” FULL REPORT