TEHRAN, YJC. -- North Korea may detonate a nuclear device and carry out a missile test together as early as this week, South Korea’s government said.
Kim Jong Un’s regime has been ready to conduct another underground atomic weapons test since carrying one out Feb. 12, and has readied two tunnels at its Punggye-ri testing site, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok said today in Seoul.
National Security Chief Kim Jang Soo said yesterday the totalitarian state may stage a provocation including a ballistic missile test on or around April 10.
North Korea’s threats to carry out pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the U.S. and South Korea have escalated tensions and prompted calls for dialogue. Chinese President Xi Jinping said yesterday no country should be allowed to instigate regional chaos and the U.S. postponed a missile test to avoid making the situation worse.
American politicians stepped up their appeals for China, North Korea’s biggest trading partner, to use its economic and political clout to rein in Kim Jong Un and prevent an armed conflict. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Asia this week to meet leaders from South Korea, China and Japan.
North Korea told South Korean companies last week to evacuate from the jointly run Gaeseong industrial park by April 10. Currently 514 South Koreans remain in the complex and 39 are scheduled to leave today, while 13 of 123 South Korean businesses there have suspended operations due to a shortage of materials, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung Suk said.