North Korea may be preparing for sixth nuclear weapon test, South Korea says
South Korean officials are warning that North Korea may be preparing for a sixth nuclear weapon test, according to a report.
During a parliamentary session, Seoul’s National Intelligence Service told South Korean lawmakers it picked up signs that North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test at its Punggye-ri underground test site, CNN reported Monday.
Pyongyang last held a nuclear test in September, when the rogue regime detonated what it said was a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit on a missile. Analysts, though, said it is almost impossible to verify North Korea’s claim.
Kim Byung-kee, a member of South Korea’s Democratic Party, said the South Korean intelligence agency reported that North Korea “has completed its preparation to carry out a nuclear test at Tunnel 2 and Tunnel 3 of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.”
The lawmaker added that the National Intelligence Service also detected activity indicating Tunnel 4 was being prepared for additional construction work. Work on the tunnel was stopped last year.
North Korean officials told CNN the U.S. could be punished for going forward with its U.S.-South Korea military exercises, which are taking place on the Korean Peninsula.
Pyongyang said the exercises, which are conducted annually and began Aug. 21, come at the “worst possible moment.”
The North Korean officials said “the Americans would be wholly responsible” if there was an escalation with “catastrophic consequences.”
While North Korea prepares for its sixth nuclear weapons test, the rogue regime has continued to test missiles, with the most recent test occurring Saturday.