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N. Korea may carry out more nuke tests, says Moscow-based diplomat

Moscow, May 25 (ANI): A senior North Korean diplomat in Moscow, Russia, has said that his country may carry out more nuclear tests unless the United States ends its “intimidation.”
The official was quoted by Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency as saying today that North Korea cannot rule out “the possibility of carrying out new nuclear tests,” adding that this would take place “if the United States and its allies continue their policy of intimidation of North Korea.”

North Korea said it had tested a second nuclear bomb today, a claim borne out by unusual seismic activity beneath a mountainside in the country’s remote north-east.

An “earthquake” provisionally measured at 4.7 on the Richter scale was recorded at 9.54 a.m. Korean time in North Hamgyong province – the same area where North Korea exploded a small nuclear bomb in October 2006.

The explosion appears to have been more powerful than the 2006 test, which measured 3.6 on the scale and was estimated to have yielded about 0.5 kilo tons (equivalent to 500 tons of TNT).

“We have successfully conducted another nuclear test on May 25 as part of the republic’s measures to strengthen its nuclear deterrent,” the regime announced in a statement by its Korean Central News Agency just before midday local time.

The test drew widespread condemnation, with Barack Obama saying it “warrants action by the international community”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was “concerned” and announced that the United Nations Security Council would meet in an emergency session at 2000 GMT to discuss North Korea, at Japan’s request.

Japan is seeking an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to push for “decisive steps” to sanction North Korea over an apparent nuclear weapons test.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said Japan “will never tolerate” a nuclear North Korea.

The apparent nuclear explosion, probably in a shaft about 5km below the surface, is the North’s most blatant provocation to the US, Japan and South Korea – and to its ally Beijing – since the previous test.

It comes at a time dictator Kim Jong-il, whose physical condition may be deteriorating following a serious stroke last August, is believed to be trying to consolidate a dynastic succession, with brother-in-law Jang Seong-taek standing behind Mr Kim’s 26-year-old third son Kim Jong-un.

The apparent regime-change preparations have been accompanied since earlier this year by a steady escalation of Northern provocation towards Washington and Seoul, but also raising hackles in Beijing.

On April 5 North Korea launched what it described as a space rocket test but which the US, South Korea and Japan insisted was another test of its long-range ballistic missile technology.

Following a non-binding censure by the UN Security Council, the North Koreans said they would “never” return to the six-party negotiations, host by Beijing, which were seeking an agreement from Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons programs in return for economic aid. (ANI)

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