Pyongyang’s test-firing of two mid-range ballistic
missiles last week drew international condemnation, but that would pale in comparison to the response
following a fourth nuclear test out of Pyongyang. The regime threatened as much on Sunday, but
for now,… Seoul says all is quiet on the nuclear front in the North.
Our Hwang Sung-hee reports. Despite Pyongyang’s threat to carry out a fourth nuclear test,
the South Korean government says there are no signs to indicate that one is in the works. “North Korea is capable of conducting nuclear
or long-range missile tests at anytime, but for now, there are no imminent signs of a
nuclear test or missile launches.” Protesting a UN condemnation of its medium-range
Rodong ballistic missile launches last week, North Korea raised tensions Sunday by threatening
to conduct a new type of nuclear test. It was the regime’s first mid-range missile
launch in four years and followed a series of short-range rocket firings over the past
two months. “We would not rule out a new form of nuclear
test for bolstering our nuclear deterrence.” In response, Seoul’s foreign ministry warned
North Korea to keep in mind that it will pay the price if it neglects the grave demands
from its neighbors and the international community and pushes ahead with another nuclear test.
The United States also urged North Korea to refrain from disturbing regional peace and
security, saying any nuclear test or ballistic missile launch are a grave violation of UN
Security Council resolutions and that it will only further isolate Pyongyang.
According to 38 North, a website run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University,
recent satellite imagery shows mountains north and south of North Korea’s Punggye-ri test
site have been excavated into complexes that could allow for multiple tests.
Joel Wit, a former state department official and editor of the 38 North website, said North
Korea is capable of carrying out a test within four to six weeks, once it decides to do so.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.