TOKYO — North Korea appears to be preparing to conduct another nuclear test, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Monday, citing signs of increased movement near the North’s nuclear test site.
With a much-hyped congress of the communist Workers’ Party to be held early next month, Kim Jong Un appears to be trying to burnish his credentials, and analysts say a fifth nuclear test would be a sure way to do that.
“Recently, signs of preparations for a fifth nuclear test have been detected,” Park said during a meeting with her aides Monday. “We are in a situation in which we cannot predict what provocations North Korea might conduct to break away from isolation and to consolidate the regime.”
This came after the South Korean Defense Ministry said that North Korea’s next underground nuclear test may be of a miniaturized warhead, rather than of the standard atomic devices it is thought to have detonated previously.