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N. Korea nuclear test could 'tie hands' of South: UN chief

Published on Feb 8, 2013 8:10 AM
South Korean soldiers patrol along the military fence, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Yeoncheon, about 65km north of Seoul on Jan 30, 2013. Facing a belligerent North Korea that is preparing a third nuclear test, South Korean soldiers on the most heavily armed border in the world now have orders to shoot back if they come under attack, a move that risks escalating any small-scale conflict. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - UN leader Ban Ki-moon warned on Thursday that a nuclear test by North Korea could blow up hopes of an eventual reconciliation by "tying the hands" of the South's incoming president.

Mr Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said incoming South Korean president Park Geun Hye is "very much committed" to improving relations with North Korea.

"If they conduct this nuclear test, it may be the case that they are effectively tying the hands of the new president of Korea," Mr Ban told a small group of reporters, including AFP.

"It may take a long time before any initiative between North and South can take place to normalize this relationship," he said, adding to international warnings to the isolated North.

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