North Korea tested atomic devices in 2006 and 2009 after receiving U.N. condemnation for launching long-range rockets.
The U.S. envoy on North Korean issues, Glyn Davies, urged Pyongyang not to explode an atomic device.
‘‘Whether North Korea tests or not, it’s up to North Korea. We hope they don’t do it. We call on them not to do it,’’ he told reporters in Seoul after meeting Thursday with South Korean officials. ‘‘It will be a mistake and a missed opportunity if they were to do it.’’
White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday said North Korea’s aggressive stance is unnecessary and warned against any further testing.
‘‘North Korea’s statement is needlessly provocative and a test would be a significant violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,’’ he said. ‘‘Further provocation would only increase Pyongyang’s isolation, and its continued focus on its nuclear and missile program is doing nothing to help the North Korean people.’’
He said the recent U.N. resolution is a ‘‘strong message of the international community’s opposition to North Korean provocations and these tightened sanctions will impede the growth of weapons of mass destruction programs in North Korea and the United States will be taking additional steps in that regard.’’
Carney did not elaborate on what those steps might be.
Despite her firm stand, Park, who takes office next month, wants to leave the window open to constructive dialogue with Pyongyang and will continue to provide food and medical aid as part of a ‘‘trust-building’’ policy for the two Koreas, envoy Rhee said.
‘‘It is a gradual process based on mutual trust and respect, which can begin with keeping promises,’’ he said.
She also advocates returning to the six-nation disarmament negotiations, Rhee said. North Korea walked away from those talks in 2009 and has said future disarmament talks are out off the table.
Associated Press writers Sandy MacIntyre in Davos, Switzerland; Jean H. Lee in Seoul and Matthew Pennington in Washington contributed to this report. Follow AP’s Korea bureau chief at www.twitter.com/newsjean.