U.S. Calls North Korea's Nuclear Revelation a 'Publicity Stunt'

Questions remain about secretive nation's nuclear plans.

ByABC News
November 22, 2010, 4:42 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2010 — -- The United States today called North Korea's decision to unveil a new uranium enrichment program to a group of visiting American scientists a "publicity stunt" and said it will take some time to consult with allies about how to proceed.

"The fact that North Korea invited these scientists to come to Pyongyang and did a show-and-tell, that by itself is valuable information. We'll compare that with other things that we know, and we'll make a formal assessment as to what we think, you know, this capability represents and what the implications are," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.

Questions remain, however, about how the capability and intentions of North Korea's uranium program, as well as its origins. On Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested the facility had been unknown to the United States.

"I hadn't known about this specific facility before, but the fact that they were going -- that they wanted their own enrichment capability is not a surprise," Gates said.

Hours before the news broke Saturday the Obama administration scrambled its top North Korea negotiator, Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, to consult with allies in Asia as it tries to chart a response.

Today the State Department spokesman suggested it would not provide further incentives for North Korea to return to the negotiating table.

"We will not be drawn into rewarding North Korea for bad behavior," Crowley said. "They frequently anticipate doing something outrageous or provocative, and forcing us to jump through hoops as a result. We're not going to buy into this cycle."

Last week a team of American scientists, led by Siegfried Hecker of Stanford University, returned from a trip to North Korea during which they were invited to visit a previously undisclosed nuclear facility that North Korea says is capable of enriching uranium.