North’s media posts confusing argument on test

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North’s media posts confusing argument on test

The United States is misinterpreting North Korea’s “important state measures” as a nuclear weapons test, according to a Web site of the regime, confusing the speculation that an atomic detonation is imminent.

Tongil Sinbo, a weekly government mouthpiece of North Korea, posted an article on the Web site of Uriminzokkiri on Friday which said that “the U.S. and hostile forces jumped to conclusions that the republic is planning a third nuclear test, citing their hypothesis and argument.”

The article also said the world “doesn’t know anything about what important state measures are to be taken.”

It explained that the measures are just “aimed at safeguarding national interests in response to threats from the United States, not posing a threat on anyone.”

Tongil Sinbo added, “We still must see what important state measures are to be taken from now on, though it is clear that any U.S. reactions to them may prove to be only irrevocable losses.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered “high-profile measures” at a top defense security meeting on Jan. 26 in defiance of new sanctions against the regime by UN Security Council members under Resolution No. 2087.

The ruling party’s mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun also has said, “There is no other option than a nuclear weapons test, which is the demand of people.”

A statement in the name of the powerful decision-making body the National Defense Commission, also has said it will carry out “a higher-level nuclear weapons test” and an “all-out war” against Washington, which it blamed for spearheading the sanctions.

The South Korean government also has said it has detected that all preparations for a nuclear test by North Korea have been completed, and the only thing left is Kim’s decision on when he will press the button.

However, in reference to the confusing article, a South Korean official said that the government doesn’t take it seriously and there is still a strong possibility of a nuclear test.

“Tongil Sinbo is just a propaganda outlet aimed to rally support from North Koreans residing overseas,” said a Unification Ministry official. “It is not an official media of the North Korean regime. We don’t see that the regime has scrapped its plan for a nuclear test. The possibility of the test still remains high.

“North Korea could be mulling over whether to push the button, because of pressure from the international community. So they could just be trying to ease the tension through the article.”

A South Korean government official also said, “the Tongil Sinbo is a media of the ruling Workers’ Party that is intended to confuse South Korea. The article is just part of its strategy to disguise [its nuclear test plan].”


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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