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North Korea ‘preparing to carry out new nuclear test’

Julian Ryall
London Telegraph [1]
December 17, 2013

North Koreans [2] pledged their allegiance to Kim Jong-un on Tuesday, the second anniversary of the death of his father, as South Korea warned Pyongyang could be preparing to carry out a fourth nuclear test and launch a long-range rocket.

Cho Won-jin, a senior member of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee and the ruling Saenuri Party, said on Tuesday that the North is attempting to shift the attention of its citizens away from the execution of Jang Song-thaek, his uncle and mentor, and to play up external threats to the nation.

A new nuclear test and the successful launch of a rocket would also serve to enhance the image and prestige of the young dictator as the nation marks two years since Kim Jong-il’s sudden death.

North Korea has already conducted three underground nuclear tests, the most recent in February. Analysts believe that nuclear engineers attempting to miniaturise a warhead so that it can be fitted to a ballistic missile have made good progress in the last 12 months, but still need to carry out at least one more test.

Full article here [1]