N. Korea's Neighbors Oppose New Nuclear Test

South Korean people watch a TV screen showing a graphic of North Korea's rocket launch, at a train station in Seoul, April 13, 2012.
South Korean people watch a TV screen showing a graphic of North Korea's rocket launch, at a train station in Seoul, April 13, 2012.

South Korea and China are warning North Korea of consequences if it goes ahead with a third nuclear test.

There is increasing speculation North Korea will attempt to conduct another nuclear test, perhaps within the next one or two weeks.

South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Byung-je warns any such action will violate international sanctions and further isolate the impoverished country.

Cho says, as far as the South Korean government knows, there are no signs North Korea is about to conduct such a test.

Kim Min-suk, a spokesman at South Korea's defense ministry, concurs. Kim explained that the military has no specific indications that a third attempted test is imminent. He said it is difficult to predict what will happen, but South Korean and U.S. combined forces are paying close attention and utilizing all assets to obtain more information.

China's vice foreign minister, Cui Tiankai, said Beijing will oppose any action that could destabilize the region.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Cui said no party - clearly a reference to North Korea - should take any action that might escalate tensions. He said maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia is the joint responsibility of all sides, not just China alone.

According to a Chinese newspaper, Beijing is strongly opposed to North Korean nuclear testing and will not be able to shield North Korea from the diplomatic consequences if it goes ahead with another one.

The warning appeared in a Global Times commentary, which is affiliated with China's ruling Communist Party.

South Korea's intelligence agency says it cannot confirm a Kyodo news service report that Russian forces have gone on alert anticipating a North Korean nuclear test within a week.

The report quotes an unnamed security official in the Russian Far East Pacific maritime region.

South Korea this month made available to news organizations satellite surveillance photos showing fresh digging at the site where North Korea attempted two previous nuclear tests.

Traces of radioactive elements were detected in the atmosphere following the 2006 test. But nothing was detected after North Korea's second claimed underground nuclear detonation in 2009. Both of those events followed failed long-range missile tests in North Korea.

A similar multi-stage rocket was launched from a new facility in North Korea on April 13. It exploded over the Yellow Sea two minutes after lift-off.

In the past few weeks, Pyongyang has amplified its bellicose rhetoric directed at Seoul. It has threatened swift military action against the South Korean government. It says South Korea's president, Lee Myung-bak, must be punished for several disrespectful comments about the North since the December death of leader Kim Jong Il.

Analysts are split on how seriously to take the threats. Some contend they are meant primarily for domestic consumption to bolster the legitimacy of new leader Kim Jong Un. Others note that similar warnings have preceded limited military strikes against the South.

While North Korea has artillery capable of hitting the heavily populated South Korean capital, the South and its U.S. ally have weaponry - including fighter and bomber aircraft - capable of striking anywhere in the heavily militarized North.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: NVO
April 26, 2012 8:24 AM
NK, where is all the FAKE CRYING for your SUPREME BUFFOON, whom is in HADES, then will be at the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT of God, then transferred to GEHENNA?? Where is all the FAKE CRYING, now?????

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs