National Security

North Korea ‘plans third nuclear test’

The test would be the first under Kim Jong-un, seen here at the rocket command centre

North Korea says it is proceeding with plans for a third nuclear test.

In a statement carried by KCNA news agency, the top military body said the “high-level nuclear test” and more long-range rocket launches were aimed at its “arch-enemy”, the US.

The statement gave no time-frame for the test. North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009.

The move comes two days after a UN Security Council resolution condemned Pyongyang’s recent rocket launch.

The Security Council also expanded sanctions against the isolated communist country following its December launch, which was seen by the US and North Korea’s neighbours as a banned test of long-range missile technology.

North Korea said the rocket was solely aimed at putting a satellite into space for peaceful purposes.

‘Ready’

The statement, which came from North Korea’s National Defence Commission, hit out at the resolution as “illegal”, before pledging a response.

‘High-level’

Both North Korea’s previous nuclear tests followed long-range rocket launches.

If it were to go ahead, this would be the first nuclear test under Kim Jong-un, who took over the leadership after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in December 2011.

There was no explanation in the statement of what “high-level” test might mean.

Experts believe the two previous tests used plutonium as fissile material, but North Korea is also believed to have been working on a programme to produce highly-enriched uranium.

It is thought that North Korea is not yet able to make a nuclear device small enough to mount on a long-range missile, although the US believes that is Pyongyang’s ultimate goal.

Courtesy: bbc.co.uk