McCormack made the remarks as US officials tried to play down reports suggesting North Korea, which carried out its first nuclear test on October 9, might be making preparations for another test.
 
"If you did have another test of a nuclear device, that would have severe consequences for the viability of that political-diplomatic process - why would they take such a step at this time?"
 
No progress
 

"If you did have another test of a nuclear device, that would have severe consequences for the viability of that political-diplomatic process - why would they take such a step at this time?"

Sean McCormack,  US state department spokesman

South Korean officials said activity had been spotted near a suspected nuclear test site in North Korea but there was no evidence to suggest Pyongyang was about to test another atomic device.
 
The South Korean officials spoke ahead of a meeting between Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, and Song Min-soon, the South Korean foreign minister. 
 
The meeting was expected to focus on North Korea and the six-party talks.
 
The six, which include the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, made no progress in their last round of talks last month in efforts to have the North scrap its nuclear weapons plans in exchange for aid and security guarantees.
 
McCormack declined comment on whether US intelligence had detected fresh activity at suspected North Korean nuclear sites but said Washington, based on its political assessments, had "no indication" North Korea intended to conduct a new test.
 
While effectively warning North Korea against a fresh test, McCormack also said "the signals are" that six-party talks "could reconvene this month."