No ‘Statute of Limitations’ for Next Nuclear Test, North Korea Says

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 30, 2014, 7:32 a.m.

With satel­lite im­ages show­ing North Korea con­tinu­ing to ready nuc­le­ar-test fa­cil­it­ies, Py­ongy­ang on Tues­day sug­ges­ted it feels con­sid­er­able lee­way on tim­ing.

“There is no stat­ute of lim­it­a­tions to the D.P.R.K.’s de­clar­a­tion that it will not rule out a new form of nuc­le­ar test cla­ri­fied by it in the March 30 state­ment,” a North Korean for­eign min­istry spokes­man said in a state­ment dis­sem­in­ated by re­gime-con­trolled me­dia.

The spokes­man also re­buked U.S. Pres­id­ent Obama for his re­cent trip to the re­gion, say­ing it was “dan­ger­ous” and risked bring­ing a “more acute con­front­a­tion and nuc­le­ar arms race to Asia”, Agence France-Presse re­por­ted.

Dur­ing his vis­it to South Korea, the U.S. lead­er said the North could be pun­ished with tough­er sanc­tions if con­ducts a fourth un­der­ground nuc­le­ar ex­plo­sion at its Punggye-ri test site.

High-res­ol­u­tion com­mer­cial satel­lite pho­to­graphs taken on Tues­day show activ­ity at both the “South Portal” area and “West Portal” area of the test site, the In­sti­tute for Sci­ence and In­ter­na­tion­al Se­cur­ity con­cluded in a new im­age ana­lys­is.

Activ­it­ies were de­tec­ted last week around the en­trances of two test tun­nels in the South Portal area, though it was not clear from the ana­lyzed im­ages wheth­er the work was re­lated to pla­cing nuc­le­ar devices in each of the tun­nels.

It is also not cer­tain what the de­tec­ted activ­it­ies at the West Portal area mean, ac­cord­ing to the IS­IS ana­lys­is.

“Could North Korea be us­ing the West Portal to as­semble a nuc­le­ar device for det­on­a­tion in the South Portal, pre­par­ing the West Portal for an ex­plo­sion either in­di­vidu­ally or in con­junc­tion with one in the South Portal, or car­ry­ing out some oth­er type of activ­ity there?” the ana­lys­is pon­ders.

Coun­try ex­pert Bruce Kling­n­er In a Tues­day column for the web­site 38 North ar­gued that if Py­ongy­ang does det­on­ate an­oth­er nuc­le­ar device, Wash­ing­ton should re­spond with much tough­er fin­an­cial sanc­tions than it has in the past.

The Her­it­age Found­a­tion’s North­east Asia fel­low re­com­men­ded the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion im­pose third-party sanc­tions on en­tit­ies — par­tic­u­larly those in China — that do busi­ness with black­lis­ted North Korean firms; define Py­ongy­ang as a primary money laun­der­ing con­cern, per­haps un­der the Pat­ri­ot Act; and sanc­tion “the en­tire North Korean gov­ern­ment,” in­stead of solely in­di­vidu­als and agen­cies, as has been past prac­tice.

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