News

Expectation Grows for Potential North Korean Nuclear Test

Satellite image provided by GeoEye appears to show a train of mining carts, at the lower center of the frame, and other preparations underway at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site but no indication of when a detonation might take place, April 18,
Satellite image provided by GeoEye appears to show a train of mining carts, at the lower center of the frame, and other preparations underway at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site but no indication of when a detonation might take place, April 18,

North Korea is giving no official indication it is preparing a third attempted nuclear test.  But reports abroad say such an underground detonation could come at any time.

Some regional media outlets are reporting a North Korea nuclear test is expected between early and mid-May.

One report, in the Joong-Ang Ilbo in South Korea, quotes a diplomatic source in Washington as saying the United States has told South Korea such a detonation could occur as soon as this week.

Asked about that, a U.S. diplomat in Seoul replied the Embassy does not comment on “security matters.”

Diplomatic and intelligence sources, who do not want to be quoted, say they have seen no indication from satellite imagery that the equipment and associated cabling necessary to conduct such an underground detonation are in place. Images taken by surveillance satellites in the past few weeks did reveal that digging of a new tunnel was underway at the Pyunnge-ri test site.

There is growing speculation that North Korea will attempt to detonate a uranium-fueled weapon. Its previously announced tests, in 2006 and 2009, are widely believed to have used plutonium, although no traces of radioactive isotopes were detected following the second attempt.

At a briefing Monday, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-suk told reporters preparations are underway to activate an emergency task force concerning a North Korean nuclear test, but it is not yet operational.

Kim says it is impossible to get precise information in real time about what is happening at the test site.  But the South Korean military is utilizing various methods - in cooperation with U.S. forces - to collected pertinent information.

At the Unification Ministry, which is tasked with North-South relations as the two Koreas have no diplomatic ties, spokesman Kim Hyung-suk says there is concern North Korea could take further provocative actions soon, including another nuclear test.

The spokesman says the ministry is continuously asking Pyongyang to make a positive choice in responding to the active recommendations of the international community. Kim warns North Korea it can expect further punishment if it again carries out a provocation.

North Korea is already under international sanctions for previous nuclear and missile tests.

The United Nations Security Council, in the coming days, is expected to announce tighter sanctions in the wake of North Korea's April 13th rocket launch, which violated resolutions by the world body on the use of ballistic missile technology.

North Korea contends the launch, which failed two minutes after blast-off, was an attempt to place a peaceful satellite into orbit.

The embarrassing failure has been followed by increasingly belligerent rhetoric from Pyongyang, threatening “special military action” against the government of South Korea President Lee Myung-bak.

The North accuses President Lee of insulting it while the nation was grieving after the death in December of its leader, Kim Jong Il. North Korea accuses Mr. Lee of continuing to utter “unforgivable” insulting rhetoric during April while the country was marking the centennial of the birth of North Korea's founder and eternal President, Kim Il Sung.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael
April 30, 2012 5:17 AM
A North Korean test is expected based on the history of previous tests, but having fresh data for the month of May is another story because, if the data is held to be objective, then it would operate in an automatic loop, which is very dangerous when one unit of data in the loop is actual uranium fuel

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs