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‘North Korea preparing for new nuke tests’

Posted by on February 20, 2011 0 Comment

Seoul, Feb 20 (DPA) South Korean government officials Sunday accused the North of preparing for new nuclear tests, based on intelligence that revealed the digging of special tunnels.

They said the tunnels were being dug at the nuclear site in North Hamgyong province where previous plutonium-fuelled tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“South Korea and US intelligence authorities have spotted the North building a couple of additional tunnels in Punggye-ri,” it quoted a government official as saying. “It’s obvious that North Korea is preparing for a third nuclear test.”

The source gave no further details on how many tunnels were being constructed.

The South Korean military is monitoring movements in the North to determine whether Pyongyang will conduct nuclear tests and long-range missile tests at the same time, Yonhap said.

Reports said North Korea had completed a new missile launch site on its western coast near the Chinese border.

Pyongyang conducted long-range missile tests in 1998, 2006 and 2009, which were said to be partial successes.

“We are closely watching its new missile launch site in Dongchang-ri and the Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” the agency quoted a military source as saying.

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