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North Korea readies nuclear test amid US warnings — report

/ 02:24 PM April 13, 2017
ADDITION- People watch a news report on North Korea's first hydrogen bomb test at a railroad station in Seoul on January 6, 2016. South Korea "strongly" condemned North Korea's shock hydrogen bomb test and vowed to take "all necessary measures" to penalise its nuclear-armed neighbour.  The image shown on TV shows files images from other nuclear tests from other countries and the caption in red at the bottom of the screen reads "the Blue House will convene an emergency meeting of the NSC, the National Security Council."   AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE / AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE

People watch a news report on North Korea’s first hydrogen bomb test at a railroad station in Seoul on Jan. 6, 2016. Pyongyang is reportedly ready to conduct another nuclear test amid strong warnings from the US. AFP FILE

WASHINGTON — North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test at its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, a monitoring group said Wednesday.

The 38 North analysis group reported that the test site was “primed and ready” amid a series of warnings from the US.

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READ: North Korea vows response to ‘reckless’ US carrier strike force

“Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from April 12 shows continued activity around the North Portal, new activity in the Main Administrative Area, and a few personnel around the site’s Command Center,” the North Korea-related analysis website said.

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A barrage of recent North Korean missile tests has stoked US fears that Pyongyang may soon develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the US mainland.

There is speculation that the country could be preparing a missile launch, or even another nuclear test — this would be its sixth — to mark the 105th birthday anniversary of its founder Kim Il-Sung on Saturday.

The Voice of America said Wednesday night, quoting US government and other sources, that North Korea “has apparently placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it could be detonated Saturday AM Korea time.”

READ: North Korea fires missile into Sea of Japan — South Korea

President Donald Trump’s administration has been forceful in its warnings to Pyongyang that leave military options “on the table,” as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said.

The threat carries extra weight after the US strike on a Syrian air base last week.

“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump said Wednesday. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.”

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He was referring to a strike group headed by the USS Carl Vinson supercarrier that has been re-routed to the Korean peninsula in a show of force against Kim.

The strike group, which deployed with about 6,500 sailors, is still some way south, conducting exercises with the Australian navy.

The US Navy already has a massive regional presence, including another carrier strike group headquartered at Yokosuka in Japan. CBB/rga

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TAGS: ICBM, news, North korea, nuclear tests, Nuclear weapons, Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, US
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