North Korea prepares to test nuclear weapon – Seoul – RT World News
If true, the launch would be Pyongyang’s first nuclear test since 2017
North Korea isreadyand likely to test a nuclear weapon, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo told Sky News on Monday, while acknowledging he was “difficult to know exactly when“the test could happen. Yet, he says,we assume they are prepared.”
Although Pyongyang hasn’t carried out a nuclear test in years – the last one was in 2017, and carrying out one now would be seen as a major escalation of tensions – it has launched more missiles in the past year than any other period since leader Kim Jong-un succeeded his father in 2011.
Han explained that Seoul always had “preparations“in place for any nukes from its northern neighbor, though”we cannot say at this time what type of response will be provided.”
“But clearly we would like to have some sort of expanded deterrent capabilities, including all sorts of options,” he said.
Last month, Kim said North Korea’s goal was to have the most powerful nuclear capability in the world. In a public order, he described ICBM Hwasong-17 as the “the most powerful strategic weapon in the world.” Pyongyang fired the missile earlier in November as a sign of “an overwhelming nuclear deterrent” against the “United States military threatand its allies in the region.
Speaking to Sky News, Han rejected any criticism of his government’s hardline approach to negotiations with the North, arguing that Seoul’s change is simply “a natural path for any country increasing the level of autonomy in terms of security.”
“We will secure peace on our terms, not on terms dictated by North Korea,” he said.
Last month, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol urged China to pressure North Korea to denuclearize, arguing it was in Beijing’s interest because tensions with North Korea North were bringing more US military resources to the region.
Han went further and criticized China directly, saying he would like to see the regional powerhouse be a “country more rules-based and more respectful of universal valuesand complain about the impact of the country’s zero Covid policy on the South Korean economy.
Seoul hinted last month that it was considering the possibility of acquiring nuclear weapons or harboring US nuclear weapons on its territory if relations with Pyongyang deteriorated further.
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