South Korea claims North Korea’s 7th nuclear test ‘imminent’; flags ‘grave situation’
The South Korean Defence Ministry said North Korea is all set to conduct a nuclear test but no “specific” indications have emerged so far for the same.
In its recent statement, the South Korean Defence Ministry claimed that North Korea is all set to conduct a nuclear test but no “specific” indications have emerged so far pertaining to the “imminent” development. Speaking at a parliamentary briefing, South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup stated that the Kim Jong-un-led regime is continuing preparations to launch a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) in near future.
According to Lee Jong-sup, the North Korean administration could act provocatively under the guise of responding to the Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) military exercise between South Korea and the United States. South Korean Defence Minister’s remarks follow Pyongyang terming the UFS military exercise as a “war rehearsal.”
“As North Korea is advancing its nuclear and missile capabilities and has completed preparations for what would be its seventh nuclear test, the grave security situation continues,” Jong-sup stated, as per Yonhap news agency.
He further stated that the country’s Armed Forces is maintaining a strong defensive posture to react proactively to such security threats on the basis of the strong alliance between South Korea and the US. Although there have been no unusual indicators pointing to an upcoming test, the South Korean minister claimed that the North is capable of executing an underground nuclear experiment at Tunnel 3 of the Punggye-ri testing site.
According to reports, Tunnel 3 is among the four known tunnels at the testing site. In 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test at Tunnel 1 and used Tunnel 2 for the subsequent five underground nuclear tests. Jong-sup added that in retaliation to the UFS drill, the North Korean forces have been concentrating on repairing security facilities that were damaged during recent torrential downpours.
North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests so far
It is pertinent to mention that South Korea has repeatedly alleged that the North is ready to conduct a nuclear test at any time as the Kim Jong-un-led regime has been rapidly increasing its missile tests as part of its weapon development programme. North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests so far, all of which have taken place at the Punggye-ri test site. The most recent test was conducted in September of 2017. Meanwhile, North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un has also warned that Pyongyang will “continue to enhance and develop nuclear capabilities at a rapid pace.”