North Korea is 'nuclear test-ready'

2012-12-28 12:00

Seoul - North Korea has repaired extensive rain damage at its nuclear test facility and could conduct a detonation on two weeks' notice, a US think-tank said on Friday, citing satellite imagery analysis.

With the UN Security Council debating possible sanctions against the North following the launch earlier this month of a long-range rocket, there has been widespread speculation that Pyongyang may carry out its third nuclear test.

Satellite photos as recent as 13 December show that Pyongyang is determined to maintain a state of readiness at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said.

Following heavy flooding earlier in the year that destroyed key infrastructure elements, the North has moved quickly to restore its ability to operate the complex; it said on its closely followed website 38 North.

"They continue to maintain the test site at a state of readiness that could allow them to conduct a detonation as soon as two weeks after such a decision is made," the institute reported.

However, it noted a possible "wildcard" in the form of a stream of water that appears to be coming from the entrance of the south tunnel at the test facility.


The flow indicates a possible problem with seepage that could adversely affect a nuclear device and sensors intended to gather data and monitor the test.

"Whether this problem is under control or has been solved remains unclear," it said.

The US and its allies have called for tough sanctions against Pyongyang for the rocket launch which they saw as a disguised ballistic missile test that violated UN sanctions imposed after the North's previous nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Both of those tests were conducted in the wake of long-range missile launches.

The North's only major ally and main economic supporter, China, is resisting any significant tightening of sanctions already in place.

However, analysts say another nuclear test would severely test Beijing's patience with its unpredictable neighbour.

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-12-28 13:04


      Gary Paxton - 2012-12-28 14:20

      jay! another nuclear test to rise the percentage in wich the world may end. they should rather spend that money on their people than on missiles to destroy rather to buid up their country.

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-12-28 13:07

    The difference between the north and the south, ideology. The south is an economic powerhouse and has the respect of the world, it is also democratic. The north is a military dictatorship whose people go hungry and have virtually nothing. The north is paranoid, arrogant and threatening. So they make a handful of nukes and the world stands by while these fools think they are all powerful. For their sake I hope they don't try anything foolish. For their peoples sake I hope they do, so the people can be liberated.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-12-28 18:39

      . Typical comment from one of the lunatics of the violent left !!!

  • SikRaletive - 2012-12-28 13:50

    WORLD WAR 3 might happen earlia than we thought.

  • kortbroek.duplessis - 2012-12-28 14:07

    Well suppose there's nothing one can do to prevent a determined rogue state to obtain a nuclear weapon. Best is choke them hard, let them live under complete isolation, nothing goes in or leave North Korea's borders. Of course getting China and Russia to play with is the hard part.

      fidelity.mcoshi - 2012-12-28 15:11

      Substitute North Korea with Israel, china and Russia for the US and EU and you the complete scenario of present day Israel.

  • tony.ezendam - 2012-12-28 15:02

    Whats good for the goose is good for the gander. Who on this planet gave the USA, Israel, the UK etc the 'right' to have nukes and deny others? If North Korea and Iraq want them too, I say go for it. To many humans on this planet anyway. Star Wars? I've got my telescope ready.

      Philip - 2012-12-28 17:34

      Ezendam you are a nob.

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