N. Korea renews threat to carry out nuclear test
"A nuclear test is the demand of the people and no other choice can be made," the North's main newspaper, Rodong Shinmun, said in a commentary. "It is the people's demand that there should be something even greater than a nuclear test," said the newspaper, the mouthpiece of the North's ruling Workers' Party.
The renewed threat comes only days after the communist country vowed to abandon all denuclearization efforts on the Korean Peninsula and conduct a nuclear test in response to the expanded U.N. sanctions.
The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution Tuesday calling for stronger sanctions against North Korea for its Dec. 12 launch of a long-range rocket that violated existing U.N. resolutions.
The resolution passed unanimously by the 15-member council is the fifth to be slapped on the North for its rocket and nuclear programs since May 1993. It calls for the tightening of existing sanctions, such as imposing travel bans on four individuals and freezing assets belonging to North Korea's space agency, a bank and four trading companies accused of engaging in arms shipments. It also banned technology developments and the transfer of money that supports such operations.
"The U.N. Security Council gave us no other choice," the commentary said. "We have no choice but to go to the very end."
South Korea. the U.S., and other nations have been closely monitoring any moves at the North's known nuclear testing grounds and speculate that the communist state is technically ready to go ahead with its third atomic test.
On Friday, a U.S. research institute said recent satellite imagery show North Korea is almost ready to carry out its threat to conduct a nuclear test.
According to 38 North, an analysis program of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, the Punggye-ri test site in the North's northeastern coastal region appears to be in a state of readiness that would allow the North to move forward with a test once Pyongyang's leadership gives the order.
The site is where the country conducted its first and second underground nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. [Yonhap]