Kim Jong-un says North Korea will soon conduct a nuclear warhead test and test-launch ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Such tests, reported in state media on Tuesday, would be in defiant violation of United Nations sanctions that were recently strengthened with the backing of China, North Korea’s chief ally.
Kim made the comments as he supervised a successful simulated test of atmospheric re-entry of a ballistic missile that measured the “thermodynamic structural stability of newly developed heat-resisting materials”, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported.
“Declaring that a nuclear warhead explosion test and a test-fire of several kinds of ballistic rockets able to carry nuclear warheads will be conducted in a short time to further enhance the reliance of nuclear attack capability, he [Kim] instructed the relevant section to make prearrangement for them to the last detail,” the agency said. In response, South Korea’s defence ministry said it did not believe that North Korea had acquired missile re-entry technology. It also noted there were no indications of activities at the North’s nuclear test site, or its long-range rocket station.
But South Korea’s defence ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun warned: “If North Korea puts this into action, it certainly violates the United Nations Security Council resolution, and it is a grave provocation against the Korean peninsula and the international community. “We once again urge North Korea to immediately stop this act which leads to its self-destruction.”