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North Korea

North Korea threatens new nuclear test after human rights criticism

After the U.N. criticized North Korea's record on human rights, the North responded with threats of a new nuclear test in retaliation.

North Korea described the U.N. resolution, passed on Tuesday, as "fraud," claiming the report was an effort for the U.S. to embarrass North Korea.

"We completely reject the forceful passage of this resolution, led by the United States with the aim of overthrowing [our] people-centered socialist system," North Korea's foreign ministry said in a statement, reported by the state-run KCNA news agency. "This aggression by the U.S. leaves us unable to further refrain from staging a new nuclear test."

The U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies noted that the reactor at Pyongyang's Yongbyon nuclear complex has been shut down for 10 weeks, fueling speculation that work on the nuclear reprocessing facility may have started. Shutting down the complex may have allowed North Korea to "remove a number of fuel rods from the reactor and to transfer them to the radiochemical laboratory, where spent fuel rods are reprocessed to extract weapons-grade plutonium," The Telegraph reports.

North Korea has thus far executed three underground tests, the last of which was in February 2013.