An aerial view of Punggye-ri site by AP (AP)
North Korea appears to be ready to conduct a nuclear test, and may conduct further missiles tests beforehand, South Korea’s presidential office said Friday.
The government is also trying to figure out the reason for Pyongyang’s movements, a presidential official told reporters. If conducted, it will be Pyongyang’s seventh nuclear test.
“North Korea has already staged six nuclear tests, and we are trying to figure out why it needs an additional test, whether it is for technical reasons or political reasons, with the United States,” the presidential official said.
“As Korea-US summit is scheduled next week, we plan to come up with a very detailed action plans to address regional issues, including topics related to North Korea and the Korean Peninsula, and also on bilateral cooperation and other global issues.”
US President Joe Biden is set to visit South Korea and Japan from May 20-24.
Pyongyang staged its last nuclear test in September 2017. So far, the reclusive regime carried out 16 rounds of missile launches this year.
The official also said that a seventh nuclear test by North Korea would have impacts on the economy, but only for a short period, and that the Russia-Ukraine war and other fundamental causes for the global economic crisis were “bigger structural variables,” that would influence the economy.
The White House also said Thursday (US time) that Pyongyang may be ready to conduct a nuclear test before the end of the month.
“The United States assesses that the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea could be ready to conduct a test there as early as this month,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a daily press briefing. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
“This would be its seventh such test. We have shared this information with allies and partners, and are closely coordinating with them,” Psaki said.
“Our intelligence assessment is consistent with the DPRK‘s recent public statements and destabilizing actions, including the test launch of multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles.”
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com