North Korea ready to conduct another nuclear test
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.