Published: Wed, September 21, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

DPRK ready to conduct another nuke test: S. Korean military

DPRK ready to conduct another nuke test: S. Korean military

The U.S. special envoy to North Korea met with officials in Seoul Monday.

Posted: Sep. 11, 2016 7:00 am Updated: Sep.

The speculation came three days after the North conducted its fifth atomic bomb explosion.

Pyongyang boasted that it showed that North Korean scientists can now make warheads small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.

The Yonhap news agency has close ties to the South Korean government and is publicly funded.

"Assessment by South Korean and USA intelligence is that the North is always ready for an additional nuclear test in the Punggye-ri area", South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun told a news briefing.

The spokesman declined to elaborate, citing intelligence matters, but said the South's military is on full combat-readiness to respond to "further nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches or land provocation" by the North.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing unidentified government sources, also reported signs that the North had finished test preparations in one previously unused tunnel at Punggy-ri. Seoul, Washington and their allies subsequently vowed to apply more pressure and sanctions on Pyongyang. The flight from the U.S. base in Guam would now take place on Tuesday, a U.S. Forces in Korea official told Reuters, declining to identify the type of aircraft involved.

"As we've made clear, measures to strengthen the national nuclear power in quality and quantity will continue to protect our dignity and right to live from augmented threats of nuclear war from the United States", KCNA added.

The country's military also said it was implementing a new system which will allow them to "punish and retaliate" against North Korea's leadership if it endangers the country with nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, in a show of strength against North Korea, the United States will fly a U.S. military B-1B bomber flight over South Korea on Tuesday.

The South's claims have not been verified, and given South Korea failed to predict Friday's test, its intelligence gathering is far from flawless.

North Korea's propaganda machine, for its part, has kept up its typical anti-Seoul threats and crude insults against Park, calling her "hideous confrontation manic" and "the Korean nation's biggest trouble-maker".

The ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun nevertheless declared Monday that the nuclear programme's "miraculous successes" mean the North has not only USA bases in the Asia-Pacific but also the United States mainland "in its clutches".

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