North Korea vowed on Monday to strengthen its defences amid concerns the country may conduct a nuclear test as a follow-up to last month’s long-range rocket launch.[...]
Quoting South Korean intelligence sources, local media said Pyongyang warned its main political ally that the underground test would be carried out before January 20.
Since North Korea successfully launched a ballistic missile in December, there has been growing concern that the regime of Kim Jong-un would follow that triumph up with its third nuclear test.
The intention, analysts believe, is to demonstrate that it has the technology both to build a nuclear warhead and the missile system to deliver it to a target.
“We have heard that a North Korean official in Beijing told the Chinese side that the North planned to carry out a nuclear test between January 13 and 20,” the South Korean Joongang newspaper quoted an official in Seoul as saying.
“We are now stepping up surveillance of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” he said.
North Korea has previously conducted two underground nuclear tests at the site, in 2006 and again in 2009, in defiance of international pressure and sanctions.
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