North Korea has informed China that it is ready to carry out at least one more nuclear test in 2013 as part of an effort to force Washington into diplomatic talks.
“It’s all ready. A fourth and fifth nuclear test and a rocket launch could be conducted soon, possibly this year,” said an unnamed source close to the governments in both Beijing and Pyongyang.
The tests will be conducted unless the US engages in talks with Pyongyang and abandon its policy of inciting a regime change in North Korea, the source added.
On February 12, North Korea announced that it had successfully carried out its third underground nuclear test, which involved a “miniaturized” device and was conducted in a “perfect manner.”
The nuclear test drew immediate condemnation from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon along with several countries including the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan.
Meanwhile, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in reaction to the recent announcement of further nuclear tests that such measures would just “lead to more isolation.”
She stated that Washington calls on Pyongyang to refrain from “additional provocative actions that would violate its international obligations and run counter to its commitments.”
Also on February 12, the North Korean Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that its third nuclear test was the country’s “first” action against the US hostility.
If Washington maintains its hostile stance and “further complicates the situation,” Pyongyang will be left with “no choice but to take even stronger second or third rounds of action,” the North Korean statement added.
North Korea carried out two previous nuclear tests on October 9, 2006 and May 25, 2009.
Tough UN sanctions were imposed on Pyongyang after its latest rocket launch in December 2012, and North Korea will most likely face more problems as a result of Tuesday’s nuclear test.