North Korea preparing another nuclear test as threatened

May 7, 2009

(ChattahBox) — North Korea appears to be ratcheting up the stakes in it’s struggle to defy the world community. Previously Pyongyang  leaders have said it was quitting six-way nuclear talks and would restart a plant that separates plutonium from spent nuclear fuel rods in response to being punished by the United Nations for the April 5 launch of a long-range rocket. Last week North Korea stepped up the rhetoric, saying it would carry out a second nuclear test and test-launch intercontinental ballistic missiles. A new report says South Korean officials have today detected “brisk” activity at a North Korean nuclear test site. The signs of increased activity at thePhunggye-ri site in the North Hamgyong province were reported in the South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper, quoting unnamed government sources.

Meanwhile the Obama administration has just sent its envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, to Asia and Russia this week to discuss ways to revive the Chinese-sponsored six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Bosworth will visit China, South Korea, Japan and Russia, but he does not plan to visit North Korea.
Beside the international pressure, the North’s bleak economy, the weakening health of its leader and the need to pick a successor may have combined to prompt the reclusive regime into hasty action.


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