In the News – N.Korea Denies Imminent Nuclear Test

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In the News – N.Korea Denies Imminent Nuclear Test

North Korea on Tuesday claimed it never planned to conduct a nuclear test and its missile tests were purely for scientific research. A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said the regime “from the beginning” never envisaged “such a military measure as a nuclear test,” and the aim of a failed rocket launch last month was to put a satellite into orbit for peaceful purposes.

The North was responding to a statement on Saturday from the G8 nations condemning the April 13 rocket launch and pledging tougher UN sanctions against the Stalinist country in response to any further provocations or a nuclear test.

North Korea then accused the U.S. of condemning it without good reason by taking issue with the peaceful satellite launch and of ratcheting up tensions by spreading what it called “rumors” of an impending nuclear test.

But an intelligence official here insisted the North has nearly finished preparations for a third nuclear test at a facility in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province and that the only thing left is for Pyongyang to officially announce the move. “We have learned from U.S. and South Korean intelligence data that a few more specialized vehicles entered the shaft at the Punggye-ri site, proving that the North is preparing for a nuclear test as we speak,” a South Korean military source said.

Citing military think tank IHS Jane’s Defense and Security Intelligence and Analysis, CNN reported Tuesday that afresh activity has been detected at Punggye-ri related to an impending nuclear test. IHS Jane’s analyzed recent photos taken by private satellite operators Digital Globe and GeoEye showing mining cars and other digging equipment near the shaft, and soil and rocks being moved out.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman warned that the regime has no choice but to bolster its nuclear arsenal while the U.S. keeps up “hostile” acts. “If the US persists in its moves to ratchet up sanctions and pressure on us despite our peace-loving efforts, we will be left with no option but to take counter-measures for self-defense,” the spokesman said.

But the denial itself was unusual. Experts speculate the statement was an excuse for the delay of the nuclear test, which was believed to be imminent. “This is related to speculation that North Korea postponed the nuclear test due to pressure from China,” said Yoo Ho-yeol at Korea University. “North Korea is trying to save face by pretending it has not caved into pressure from China but never planned a nuclear test in the first place.”

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – Worth it? Failed launch costs North Korea food aid

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In the News – Worth it? Failed launch costs North Korea food aid

The U.S. will not go forward with planned food aid for North Korea after the nation’s unsuccessful attempt to launch a long-range missile rocket, the White House said.

“Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea’s provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments,” the White House said in a statement condemning the launch.

President Obama has been prepared to engage with North Korea in a constructive manner, the statement said, but he also insists that the country live up to its earlier commitments and international obligations.

North Korea’s much-anticipated rocket launch ended quickly in failure early Friday, splintering into pieces over the Yellow Sea soon after takeoff. Continue reading

In the News – N. Korea high on agenda at G-8 meeting

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In the News – N. Korea high on agenda at G-8 meeting

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, April 11 (Yonhap) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she and her G-8 counterparts will discuss ways to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea set to launch a long-range ballistic rocket.

“I think we all share a strong interest in stability on the Korean Peninsula and we will be discussing how best to achieve that,” the secretary said at the start of a meeting with foreign ministers of the Group of Eight major economies.

The two-day session, under way at the Blair House, a state guest house near the White House, comes ahead of the G-8 Summit to be held at Camp David May 18-19. The group also involves Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Canada and Italy,
Clinton accused Pyongyang of pushing for such a provocative move at the cost of a Feb. 29 deal under which it pledged to suspend missile and nuclear activities. In return, the U.S. had planned to provide massive food aid. Continue reading