N. Korea resumes nuke test plans
- Published: 2/02/2013 at 05:53 PM
- Online news:
SEOUL - North Korea is showing signs of resuming work for a third nuclear test a week after it threatened to conduct one in response to strengthened United Nations sanctions.
Activities monitored at the Punggye-ri nuclear site, 370 kilometres northeast of Pyongyang, show the country is in the "final stages of preparation for a nuclear test" South Korea's Yonhap News reported, citing a Seoul government official.
Nort Korea conducted atomic tests in 2006 and 2009 at the site, and the entrance to one of the the testing ground's tunnels was covered, according to an earlier Yonhap report citing an unidentified intelligence source.
The signs of a possible test come as the international community increases pressure on North Korea to deter it from conducting another nuclear experiment.
The UN last month strengthened sanctions against the country, and the United States and South Korea will hold a naval exercise next week off the Korean peninsula, Yonhap News reported.
North Korea on Saturday accused the US of a double standard and said it would face the "toughest retaliation" for criticising North Korea's rfecent rocket launch while supporting one by South Korea, the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
South Korea last week launched a rocket which put the country's first satellite into orbit.
The UN Security Council on Jan 22 tightened sanctions against North Korea after it launched a rocket last month. North Korea threatened to conduct a nuclear test "of higher level" in response, according to a statement carried by its Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) on Jan 24.
The US and South Korea will hold a naval exercise from Monday to Wednesday in waters east of the Korean peninsula, Yonhap reported on Saturday.
The UN agency that detects and reports on nuclear-weapon explosions said on Jan 29 that it was prepared for a test and could verify a successful North Korean atomic explosion the day it occurs, said Annika Thunborg, a spokeswoman for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
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