North Korea is planning a nuclear test and using the imminent rocket launch as an excuse, a South Korean intelligence report obtained by CNN says.The report says there’s a good chance that North Korea will use the international condemnation that is sure to ensue after the rocket launch this week as an excuse to carry out a nuclear test at Punggye-ri, the site in the country’s northeast where the previous two tests were carried out. It cited satellite images of the final stages of a tunnel being dug at the site.
North Korean state media have not announced a nuclear test.
In a rare gesture, North Korean officials invited international journalists to the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri to view the rocket, MSNBC reports. “If you look for yourselves with your own eyes, then you can judge whether it’s a ballistic missile, or whether it’s a launch vehicle to put a satellite into orbit,” Jang Myong Jin, head of the launch site, said through a translator.
The U.S., Japan, Britain, and other nations have urged North Korea to cancel the launch, warning it would violate U.N. resolutions and North Korea’s promise to refrain from nuclear and missile activity (in exchange for food aid), according to the AP. They also fear Pyongyang is testing missile technology that could be used on the United States. Even China, a traditional ally, has expressed concern over the launch.
“[The missile launch and a nuclear test] will send a very strong message to the world… we are here, we are dangerous, unpredictable and it’s better to deal with us by giving us monetary and food concessions,” Andrei Lankov of Seoul’s Kookmin University told CNN.
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