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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Will DPRK rock NE Asia with a fifth nucleartest?

Speculation is mounting that the DemocraticPeople's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is ready to push the button on yet anothernuclear test.

News that the country's Workers Party willhold its first congress in nearly forty years early next month has fanned therumors, given that Pyongyang typically timed nuclear tests to coincide withmajor political events.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye onTuesday expressed near-certainty that a launch was imminent, stating that theDPRK has "completed its preparations for a fifth nuclear test" and itcould be carried out at any time.

The president's assessment came after theDPRK fired a ballistic missile last Saturday from a submarine – the launch,which failed, was denounced by the UN.

Photo: Yonhap

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution2270 in March to impose tough new sanctions on the DPRK in response to thecountry's nuclear and missile tests carried out earlier this year.

US State Department spokesman Mark Tonerechoed President Park’s determination to take hard-hitting actions against theDPRK, saying that the US will look at "other options" to increasepressure on the DPRK and strengthen defense of its allies if Pyongyang doesconduct yet another nuclear test.

"We're going to look at other optionsas we move forward if North Korea continues with this kind of behavior,"Toner warned, but didn't detail what "other options" could mean.

Toner added that his country would makeevery effort to convince the DPRK to return to talks about its nuclear program.

The DPRK has carried out two nuclear andseveral ballistic missile tests in recent months, heightening tensions on theKorean Peninsula and inducing condemnation and concern among the internationalcommunity at large.


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