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US Mulling Options on North Korea Nukes

The Obama administration says it will consider putting North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and is pressing for a U.N. resolution authorizing the boarding of North Korean ships to search for nuclear materials.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says recent activity by North Korea, including nuclear tests and missile launches, is forcing the United States to consider placing Pyongyang back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

"Obviously they were taken off of the list for a purpose, and that purpose is being thwarted by their actions," said Clinton.

Clinton was speaking on ABC's This Week program. Last year, the United States removed North Korea from the terror sponsor list after Pyongyang agreed to dismantle its nuclear program and allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities. Far from living up to its pledge, North Korea has pressed ahead with its nuclear program.

Clinton says a decision on North Korea has yet to be reached.

"We are going to look at it. There is a process for it," said Clinton.

Whether or not North Korea is re-added to the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, Clinton says the Obama administration is working with the United Nations to prevent Pyongyang from exporting nuclear materials.

"We are working very hard to create a mechanism where we can interdict North Korean shipments," she said. "We think we are going to come out of this with a very strong resolution with teeth that will have consequences for the North Korean regime. If we do not take significant and effective action against the North Koreans now, we will spark an arms race in Northeast Asia. I do not think anybody wants to see that."

Clinton added that strengthening sanctions against Pyongyang has the "full support" of both Russia and China.

On other matters, the secretary denied any suggestion the United States is attempting to dictate terms for peace in the Middle East. Clinton said President Obama is attempting to address issues and obstacles impeding a lasting agreement, but that Israelis and Palestinians will ultimately decide how the process moves forward.

Asked what would happen if Israel suffered a nuclear attack from Iran, Secretary of State Clinton said there would be retaliation. She did not specify from whom or what form the retaliation would take.