North Korea is always ready for a fresh nuclear test ‘at any time’, South Korean officials said on Sunday.
It comes after the South warned it would reduce the North’s capital Pyongyang to ashes if Kim Jong-un’s forces attacked .
A source told Yonhap news agency that the city would be “completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosives shells”.
South Korea’s defence ministry has now warned that Kim may launch a new nuclear test at any moment.
Spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said: “North Korea has a tunnel where it can conduct an additional nuclear test.”
Yonhap reported earlier that North Korea has completed preparations for another nuclear test, claiming the North may use a previously unused tunnel at its mountainous test site.
On Friday, Pyongyang launched its most powerful nuclear blast to date, saying it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile.
Yonhap quoted a government source as saying: “Indications have been gathered that the North has completed preparations to conduct a nuclear test at any time in the third tunnel that has not been used previously.”
It did not elaborate on what activities had been detected at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site near the North’s northeastern shore, the location of its five nuclear explosions.
North Korea said on Sunday a push for further sanctions following its latest nuclear test was “laughable”, and vowed to continue to strengthen its nuclear power.
A US special envoy for the isolated state, Sung Kim, will travel to Seoul on Monday after discussing with Japanese officials in Tokyo cooperation among neighboring countries in the wake of the North’s nuclear test.
Kim met with Japanese officials on Sunday and said the US may launch unilateral sanctions against North Korea, echoing comments by President Barack Obama in the wake of the test.
South Korea said that the latest test showed North Korea’s nuclear capability was expanding fast and that North Korean leader Kim was unwilling to alter course.
South Korea’s military put the force of Friday’s blast at 10 kilotonnes, which would be the North’s most powerful blast to date , but a US expert said the highest estimates of seismic magnitude suggested a yield of 20 to 30 kilotonnes.
The UN Security Council denounced North Korea’s decision to carry out the test and said it would begin work immediately on a resolution.
The UK, US and France pushed for the 15-member body to impose new sanctions.
News Source MirrorNews