A day after North Korea claimed to have extracted &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2002/09/03/35840.html ' target=_blank>weapons-grade fuel from a nuclear reactor, South Korea on Thursday strongly urged North Korea to re-engage in disarmament talks but said it was not time to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.
South Korean officials said they believed that North Korea's declaration was a negotiating ploy in its standoff with the United States and that negotiations could still resolve the nuclear crisis, reports the New York Times.
Asked about the possibility of going to the Security Council, Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon told the South Korean news media that there had not yet been "consultation among the relevant parties."
Meanwhile in Washington, US Secretary of State &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/15155_rice.html ' target=_blank>Condoleezza Rice on Thursday urged the North to return to talks, and said that success in efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament in North Korea can only come if the United States and its negotiating partners stick together.
North Korea claimed on Wednesday that it had completed removing spent fuel rods from a nuclear reactor at its main complex, a move that could allow it to harvest more weapons-grade plutonium, and said it would strengthen its nuclear arsenal.
The move was the latest provocation since the country declared on February 10 that it had nuclear weapons and would indefinitely boycott arms talks until Washington drops its "hostile" policy.