News / Asia

US Urges North Korea to Refrain From New Nuclear Test

Reuters
The United States said on Tuesday it was watching the Korean peninsula closely after reports that North Korea may be planning another nuclear test and it urged Pyongyang not to take any step that would threaten regional peace.
 
South Korean news reports quoted the South Korean government as saying on Tuesday that heightened activity had been detected at North Korea's underground nuclear test site, indicating possible preparations for another atomic test.
 
The reports come just before U.S. President Barack Obama is due in Japan and South Korea, where he will discuss ways to deal with North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Obama is due in Tokyo on Wednesday and in Seoul on Friday.
 
“We have certainly seen the press reports ... regarding possible increased activity in North Korea's nuclear test site,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We are closely monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula.”
 
“We continue to urge North Korea to refrain from actions that threaten regional peace and security and to comply with its international obligations and commitments,” she told a regular news briefing.
 
South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok as saying that “a lot of activity” was being seen at the Punggye-ri test site.
 
“So our forces are keeping in mind the possibility that North Korea may suddenly conduct a nuclear test in a short period of time, or as in previous cases, deceive us with what appears to be a nuclear test.”
 
North Korea warned last month it would not rule out a “a new form” of nuclear test after the United Nations Security Council condemned Pyongyang for launching ballistic missiles into the sea.
 
On the Air Force One flight carrying Obama to Asia, White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked about the reports that North Korea may be preparing a nuclear test.
 
“North Korea has a history of taking provocative actions and we are always mindful of the possibility that such an action could be taken,' he told reporters.
 
“There is a kind of cyclical nature to the provocative actions that North Korea tends to take and we'll be watching it very closely.”
 
Test During Obama Visit 'Appears Unlikely'
 
Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates North Korea has begun new operations at Punggye-ri, said 38 North, a North Korea monitoring website run by Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.
 
But 38 North said there was little evidence to suggest a test would take place during Obama's visit to Seoul. This “may be possible but appears unlikely,” it said.
 
Increased activity had been seen in a six-week period from early March to April 19, including in an area where there were two completed tunnels, 38 North said.
 
“In particular, there appears to be movement of crates, boxes and materials near the entrances, possibly into the tunnels,” it said.
 
However it added: “Recent operations at Punggye-ri have not reached the high level of intensity - in terms of vehicle, personnel and equipment movement - that occurred in the weeks prior to past detonations.”
 
The activity “could represent an early stage of preparations for a test or may be intended for a less provocative purpose, such as conducting maintenance after a long winter” 38 North concluded.
 
When asked what Pyongyang meant by a “new form” of nuclear test, North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations said on April 4 that the world would have to “wait and see.”
 
Nuclear expert Jeffrey Lewis, of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in the United States, said this month that the reference to a new form of test could mean simultaneous detonation of two or more devices as part of a program of more intense nuclear testing expected over the next few years.
 
While North Korea has detonated several nuclear devices since 2006, analysts doubt it has the technical capability to reliably mount a nuclear warhead on a missile.
 
Diplomats have said it is possible the U.N. Security Council will respond to last month's North Korean missile tests by expanding a sanctions blacklist to include more North Korean entities involved in Pyongyang's missile program. But they said it could take weeks to reach agreement.
 
The council expanded its sanctions on North Korea after its third nuclear test in February 2013.
 
The United States said it held “productive” talks with China on North Korea last week, part of stepped up international diplomacy after Pyongyang's nuclear test warning.
 
China, North Korea's main ally, has warned against any action that could lead to the escalation of tensions.

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent — Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
April 22, 2014 7:56 PM
REALLY? -- Does it really matter if North Korea tests another nuclear bomb underground? -- Why should it bother the US so much, when we have enough nuclear weapons ourselves, to destroy the whole world twice over, and we have proven to the world, we will use them against an enemy, haven't we?
China is always neutral in their remarks regarding other countries disputes, and warned against (any action) that could lead to the escalation of tensions?

by: MrSatyre from: USA
April 22, 2014 5:15 PM
Yes, North Korea, you'd better listen when we tell you not to conduct any more nuclear testing, because...um...because...because we say so! And when we say "or else", we really mean "undefined serious consequences" by which we really mean...uh...well, nothing at all, apparently. So, North Korea, go about your business.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More