EU calls on N. Korea to return to talks

North Korea must stop stoking tensions and instead re-engage with the international community, the European Union said Thursday after Pyongyang warned it is ready to launch a nuclear attack on the United States.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said she deplored Pyongyang's announcement it would reopen its mothballed Yongbyon reactor which supplied plutonium for its weapons programme.

This decision was "in clear violation" of UN resolutions and commitments made in 2007 when the North agreed to six-party talks on its nuclear programme which included China, its close ally, and the United States.

"Continued breaking of its international obligations... that threaten stability in the region will inevitably lead to an ever more united response by the international community," Ashton said in a statement.

North Korea "should refrain from fuelling further tensions and show commitment to the agreed goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," she said.

"Once again, I urge the (North Korean) leadership to take a constructive path and re-engage with the international community."