By Jethro Mullen and Chelsea J. Carter
The United States will not accept North Korea as a "nuclear state," Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Tuesday, just hours after Pyongyang announced plans to restart a nuclear reactor it shut down five years ago.
North Korea's decision comes as tensions on the Korean peninsula escalate over Kim Jong Un's threats to wage war against the United States and South Korea.
"The bottom line is simply that what Kim Jong Un is choosing to do is provocative. It is dangerous, reckless. The United States will not accept the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) as a nuclear state," Kerry said during a joint briefing in Washington with South Korea Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.
"And I reiterate again the United States will do what is necessary to defend ourselves and defend our allies, Korea and Japan. We are fully prepared and capable of doing so, and I think the DPRK understands that."