SEOUL: North Korea is ready to conduct another nuclear test at any time, South Korea’s defence ministry said Monday, just days after Pyongyang sparked worldwide condemnation with its fifth and most powerful test.
“An additional test could be conducted in a tunnel that branches off from the second tunnel or in the third tunnel, where preparations have been completed,” said ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Gyun.
The spokesman declined to elaborate, citing intelligence matters, but said the South’s military is on full combat-readiness to respond to “further nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches or land provocation” by the North.
All five nuclear tests have been conducted at the Punggye-ri site in the country’s northeast. The initial one in October 2006 was in the first tunnel and the last four in the second tunnel, according to Seoul’s defence ministry.
In a statement hailing the “success” of its test on Friday, the North vowed to take “further measures” to increase its nuclear strike force “in quality and in quantity”.
The yield from Friday’s test was estimated at 10 kilotons, almost twice as much as the one Pyongyang conducted only eight months earlier.
The North also boasted that the test was conducted on a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a missile.