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Monday 19.02.2018 | Name days: Zane, Zuzanna

North Korea to target U.S. with nuclear, rocket tests

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North Korea said on Thursday, January 24, it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States.

The announcement by the country’s top military body came a day after the U.N. Security Council agreed a U.S.-backed resolution to censure and sanction the country for a rocket launch in December that breached its bans, Reuters reported.

“We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States,” North Korea’s National Defence Commission said, according to state news agency KCNA.

North Korea is believed by South Korea and other observers to be “technically ready” for a third nuclear test, and the decision to go ahead rests with leader Kim Jong-un who pressed ahead with the December rocket launch in defiance of the U.N. sanctions.

China, the one major diplomatic ally of the isolated and impoverished North, agreed to the U.S.-backed resolution and it also supported resolutions in 2006 and 2009 after Pyongyang’s two earlier nuclear tests.

“After all these years and numerous rounds of six-party talks we can see that China’s influence over North Korea is actually very limited. All China can do is try to persuade them not to carry out their threats,” said Cai Jian, an expert on Korea at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Analysts said the North could test as early as February as South Korea prepares to install a new, untested president or that it could choose to stage a nuclear explosion to coincide with former ruler Kim Jong-il’s Feb 16 birthday.

A South Korean military official said the concern now is that Pyongyang could undertake a third nuclear test using highly enriched uranium for the first time, opening a second path to a bomb.

At the same time its long-range rockets are not seen as capable of reaching the United States mainland and it is not believed to have the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.

The North was banned from developing missile and nuclear technology under sanctions dating from its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.

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