Yoo Choonsik and Sylvia Westall
Friday, December 24, 2010
(Reuters) – North Korea could carry out a third nuclear test next year to strengthen the credentials of its young leader-in-waiting, Kim Jong-un, a research report from a South Korean Foreign Ministry institute said on Friday.
The report came a day after Pyongyang vowed a nuclear “sacred war,” using its nuclear deterrent, after the South vowed to be “merciless” if attacked again and held a major military drill near the border.
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The North, which carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, has yet to show it has a deliverable weapon as part of its plutonium arms program, but a third test would raise tensions further on the divided peninsula and rattle global markets.
South Korean media reported earlier this month that the North was digging a tunnel in preparation for a nuclear test.
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