North Korea Preparing Nuclear Test, Satellite Images Suggest

-South Korean wargames and the deployment of the aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, but also a tweet Trump posted Tuesday in which he said the North is "looking for trouble".

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that "military force can not resolve the issue", adding: "Whoever provokes the situation, whoever continues to make trouble in this place, they will have to assume historical responsibility".

"Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea's Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from April 12 shows continued activity around the North Portal, new activity in the Main Administrative Area, and a few personnel around the site's Command Center", the North Korea-related analysis website said.

North Korea's ruler, Kim Jong Un, has defined his leadership with a quest to build a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Pyongyang, Vice Minister Han Song Ryol also warned the USA against provoking North Korea militarily, saying, "We will go to war if they choose".

However, Yonhap, South Korea's news agency, has played down the likelihood of a nuclear launch.

North Korea is ready to launch a nuclear test at its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, the 38 North monitoring group reported on Wednesday.

While the exact timing of such a test is unknown, it could happen as early as Saturday, when the country prepares to celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder. North Korea carried out two nuclear tests previous year. Expectations are high the North may put its newest missiles on display during a military parade that could be held to mark the event.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe underscored fears about possible threats from North Korea, telling parliament in Tokyo that Pyongyang could have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.

"If Trump were to follow through with his hints that he may give the order to shoot down any North Korean missile tests, it could lead to military escalation on both sides". At the same time, speculation is growing that Pyongyang may be close to conducting more nuclear or missile tests, despite a raft of worldwide sanctions punishing it over its nuclear weapons program. "I think he wants to help us with North Korea".

USA officials said Trump was considering tougher sanctions that could possibly include an oil embargo, banning North Korea's airline, intercepting cargo ships, and punishing Chinese banks doing business with Pyongyang.

"There's a whole host of things that are possible, all the way up to what's essentially a trade quarantine on North Korea", one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters in Washington.

Customs data in Beijing on Thursday showed that China's coal imports from North Korea had plunged 51.6 percent in the first three months in 2017 from a year ago.

Mr Noone said North Korea has made progress on everything from more powerful engines to solid-fuelled rockets and the broad spectrum of technical progress pointed to an underestimation on our part of how effective sanctions against their nuclear program have been.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Trump spoke about the situation in North Korea: "You can not allow a country like that to have nuclear power, nuclear weapons". He said later on Wednesday the United States was prepared to tackle the crisis without China, if necessary.

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