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Obama to cite N.Korea nuke test in State of the Union

12:53 PM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
President Obama (Photo: SAUL LOEB, AFP/Getty Images)
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Well, North Korea found a way to get a bigger spot in President Obama's State of the Union Address.

Obama will condemn the regime's latest nuclear test in his speech Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress, aides said.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued this statement on the blast: "The U.S. Intelligence Community assesses that North Korea probably conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of P'unggye on February 12, 2013. The explosion yield was approximately several kilotons. Analysis of the event continues."

The president is also likely to discuss nuclear non-proliferation plans, including efforts to reduce nuclear stockpiles across the globe.

The North Korean nuke text won't change the president's speech much, aides said.

"He was always prepared to address North Korea in the speech," said senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer on MSNBC.

Some congressional Republicans said they will be looking to see what Obama's comments about North Korea might say about another potential nuclear threat: Iran.

"I'm sure the Iranians are watching closely," tweeted Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Obama's opponent in the 2008 election.

The State of the Union speech is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.

In the meantime, Obama issued a statement condemning the test:.

"North Korea announced today that it conducted a third nuclear test. This is a highly provocative act that, following its December 12 ballistic missile launch, undermines regional stability, violates North Korea's obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, contravenes its commitments under the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and increases the risk of proliferation. North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs constitute a threat to U.S. national security and to international peace and security.

"The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and steadfast in our defense commitments to allies in the region.

"These provocations do not make North Korea more secure. Far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, North Korea has instead increasingly isolated and impoverished its people through its ill-advised pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

"The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community. The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies. We will strengthen close coordination with allies and partners and work with our Six-Party partners, the United Nations Security Council, and other UN member states to pursue firm action."

David Jackson, USA TODAY

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