North Korea Planning New Nuclear Testing

Yahoo Contributor Network

A report from ANI indicated on Monday that North Korea is preparing to perform two nuclear tests, the third such test to come soon.

According to Sky News, South Korea has asked for China to use its influence to persuade North Korea to drop its testing plans.

Following is the latest news on Korea's nuclear testing program.

* The ANI report is based on South Korean government sources that had analyzed satellite images of activities at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

* Recently elevated leader Kim Jong-Un chaired an "enlarged meeting of his Central Military Commission" over the weekend, according to Sky News, during which time Kim mentioned a "looming great turn" in the military's capability.

* In December, the United Nations Security Council had denounced the hermit state for launching what North Korea claimed was a rocket intended to put a satellite into orbit. However, in the capital of Pyongyang, a fuselage section from an identical vehicle has been put on display and openly labeled a ballistic missile.

* The Associated Press reported that in response to the testing, South Korean and U.S. troops began three days of naval drills as a show of force on Monday, including the use of an American nuclear-powered submarine.

* North Korea claims the launch is in response to sanctions slapped against the country for previous tests in 2006 and 2009 and put into place by the Security Council.

* Pyongyang's state media discussed the joint drills, with commentary on the official Uriminzokkiri website noting that "the dark cloud of war is approaching to the Korean Peninsula. Our patience has the limit," according to the AP.

* The tests come as South Korean U.N. Ambassador Kim Sook assumes presidency of the Security Council for February. According to Reuters, Kim told reporters that "the North Korean nuclear test seems to be imminent. Obviously there are very busy activities going on at the (North Korean) nuclear test site, and everybody's watching."

* Last week, Google added locations to North Korea for the first time, as noted by Scientific American, based on crowd-sourcing efforts. The new maps came weeks after Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt visited the country to promote opening Internet access.

* A look at Google Maps shows four massive gulags, including Bukchang and Yodok in the center of the nation and Hwasong and Hoeryong to the northeast.

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.

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