World News

Obama Warns North Korea Against Nuclear Test

U.S. President Barack Obama is warning of a "firm response" should North Korea go ahead with a fourth nuclear test that some analysts and officials say could take place in the coming days.

Speaking to South Korean media before landing in Seoul, Mr. Obama said "Pyongyang will gain absolutely nothing from another nuclear test except to deepen its own isolation from the international community."

South Korea's government has warned that the North appears to be making preparations for another test at its main nuclear test site, an assertion backed up by a U.S.-based research group.

The U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies says the most recent satellite images of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site show activity "probably related to preparations for a detonation."

It said the images, taken Wednesday, showed "probable command and control vehicles" parked in the main support area of the test site, noting similar vehicles were spotted in the area prior to the North's February 2013 test.

But the institute warned it is not clear if Pyongyang, whose leaders are notoriously unpredictable, will follow the same pattern this time.



Leonid Petrov, a veteran Korea analyst at the Australian National University, sees another North Korean nuclear test as inevitable.



"I don't believe the fourth nuclear test is going to happen during President Obama's visit in South Korea, but it will come sooner or later, and I believe it may happen this year, particularly given the satellite images."



There has been widespread speculation about what type of nuclear device North Korea will detonate this time around. Its first three tests - in 2006, 2009, and 2013 - are believed to have used plutonium.

Petrov says the North's next test could employ uranium, which is easier and cheaper to acquire. Or he says a combination of plutonium and uranium is possible.



"And that is going to become something sensational, simply because the thermonuclear technology is much more powerful than the traditional technology in nuclear devices that have been tested by North Korea before. If that happens, it means that they need significantly less fissile material such as plutonium and uranium, but the yield of the detonation is going to be a hundred times more."



South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se acknowledged this week that a fourth nuclear test would be a "game changer," although he did not elaborate.

Besides the technological advances achieved by a possible North Korean nuclear test, the move might also be a "game changer" in terms of diplomacy.

President Park Geun-hye, who took office in 2013 on promises of improving ties with Pyongyang, has yet to have to respond to a North Korean nuclear test.

If a detonation does take place, Petrov warns that President Park may feel pressured to change her stance to at least temporarily become less flexible on her stance toward North Korea.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs