North Korea prepares for atomic tests, dodges sanctions on weapons drive
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A new draft UN report reveals that North Korea has expanded its weapons testing facilities, indicating that the hermit kingdom may intend to begin testing nuclear weapons in the near future .
The report was obtained by Japanese news website Nikkei and presented findings indicating that North Korea has begun digging new tunnels at the Punggye-ri test site, which could allow the government to conduct “nuclear tests additional for the development of nuclear weapons”.
The report covers the first half of 2022 and also details the ways in which North Korea has managed to evade sanctions and continue to finance its operations. The UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee will discuss the findings before releasing the report.
The committee may choose to take additional action, including additional sanctions, based on the report’s findings.
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed the UN General Assembly during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference on Monday and stated that Pyongyang is “preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test “.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continues to expand its illegal nuclear program and continues its ongoing provocations against the region,” he said.
Pyongyang responded with a statement on Wednesday calling Blinken’s comments a “confrontational rallying cry against the DPRK.”
“The DPRK long ago withdrew from the NPT through the legitimate procedure in accordance with the relevant article stipulated in the NPT,” the officials wrote. “Consequently, no one has the right or justification to accuse the DPRK, a nuclear-possessing state outside the NPT, of exercising its right to self-defense.”
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North Korea accused the United States of trying to undermine “the foundation of the non-proliferation regime” and of remaining “bound to nuclear threats and blackmail against sovereign states.”
“The United States itself would not deny that it has transferred nuclear-powered submarine technology to Australia and that it has colluded and sponsored Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons,” the statement continued. “It is the height of blame for the United States to allege “nuclear threats” to someone, given that it is the benchmark for nuclear proliferation that has historically and systematically violated its treaty obligations article after article. other and has disturbed international and regional peace. security.”
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North and South Korea have said Pyongyang can conduct a nuclear test “at any time it decides,” but the hermit kingdom continues to face obstacles, chief among them a new outbreak of COVID-19 that began in May .
Although satellite images of the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear site indicate that Pyongyang has been steadily restoring the nuclear site’s Tunnel 3, there have been no public comments or reports on the nuclear test.
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North Korea’s sixth and currently final nuclear test took place in 2017. The hydrogen bomb test caused a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, and North Korea claimed the test was a ” perfect success.”
The UN Security Council is expected to meet on the sanctions report in closed session later this month.