North Korea ready to con­duct an­other nu­clear test

The Myanmar Times - - World -

NORTH Korea is ready to con­duct an­other nu­clear test at any time, South Korea’s de­fence min­istry said yes­ter­day, just days af­ter Py­ongyang sparked world­wide con­dem­na­tion with its fifth and most pow­er­ful test.

The North has said the test has re­alised its goal of be­ing able to fit a minia­turised war­head on a rocket, prompt­ing calls for new sanc­tions.

“An ad­di­tional test could be con­ducted in a tun­nel that branches off from the sec­ond tun­nel or in the third tun­nel, where prepa­ra­tions have been com­pleted,” said min­istry spokesper­son Moon Sang-Gyun.

He said the South’s mil­i­tary is on full com­bat-readi­ness to re­spond to “fur­ther nu­clear tests, bal­lis­tic mis­sile launches or land provo­ca­tion”.

All five nu­clear tests have been con­ducted at the Pung­gye-ri site in the coun­try’s north­east. The ini­tial one in Oc­to­ber 2006 was in the first tun­nel and the last four in the sec­ond tun­nel, ac­cord­ing to Seoul’s de­fence min­istry.

In a state­ment hail­ing the “suc­cess” of its test on Septem­ber 9, the North vowed to take fur­ther mea­sures to in­crease its nu­clear strike force “in qual­ity and in quan­tity”.

The yield from that test was es­ti­mated at 10 kilo­tonnes, al­most twice as much as the one Py­ongyang con­ducted only eight months ear­lier, and an­a­lyst say it sig­nals its nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity has grown sig­nif­i­cantly.

How­ever, opin­ion is split over whether Py­ongyang re­ally has made nu­clear war­heads small enough to arm its mis­sile units, and even if so what the range of such a nu­cle­artipped mis­sile would be.

The rul­ing party news­pa­per

Rodong Sin­mun de­clared that the nu­clear pro­gram’s “mirac­u­lous suc­cesses” mean the North has not only US bases in the Asia-Pa­cific but also the US main­land “in its clutches”.

Should Wash­ing­ton launch a war against it, Py­ongyang would “blow up the land of Amer­ica and thus fi­nally root out the source of war on the earth”, it said.

In New York, the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has agreed to start work on new puni­tive mea­sures, even though five sets of sanc­tions since the first test failed to halt the North’s nu­clear drive.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said Tokyo was con­fronting an “ex­tremely harsh re­al­ity” with both Py­ongyang and Bei­jing pos­ing se­ri­ous se­cu­rity chal­lenges to Ja­pan. –

South Korean pro­tes­tors hold plac­ards read­ing “Down with Kim Jong-Un, Elim­i­nate North Korean nu­clear!” dur­ing a protest in Seoul yes­ter­day de­nounc­ing North Korea’s lat­est nu­clear test.

Photo: AFP

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