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South Korea Claims North Is Preparing For New Nuclear Tests

Danny Lee |
April 7, 2013 | 11:05 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

South Korean officials say the North is looking to test missiles with a 2,500-mile range. (Creative Commons)
South Korean officials say the North is looking to test missiles with a 2,500-mile range. (Creative Commons)
South Korea's Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said Monday that North Korea could be showing signs of preparing to conduct a new nuclear test, according to CNN.

The South's national security director said the North might fire off Musudan missiles as a "test" launch rather than a targeted strike. The missiles have a 2,500-mile range and could threaten South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia. American bases in Guam would also be within reach.

SEE ALSO: China's Leader Expresses Concern Over North Korea

In light of hints of new military provocations from the North, the U.S. and South Korea have drafted plans to respond more aggressively than in the recent past, as a way to prevent escalation to a full-blown war.

From the New York Times:

American officials described the new “counterprovocation” plan as calling for an immediate but proportional “response in kind” — hitting the source of any North Korean attack with similar weapons. For example, if the North Koreans were to shell a South Korean island that had military installations, as has occurred in the past, the plan calls for the South to retaliate quickly with a barrage of artillery of similar intensity.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to visit Seoul later this week to discuss diplomatic incentives for North Korea once it tones down its belligerent rhetoric.

"Secretary Kerry agrees that we have to have a robust deterrent because we really don't know what these guys will do," said one senior official, who was not authorized to speak on the issue.

SEE ALSO: U.S. Reducing Incendiary North Korea Rhetoric

A senior adviser to President Barack Obama, Dan Pfeiffer, downplayed the situation as "a pattern of behavior we've seen from the North Koreans many times," during an appearance on ABC's "This Week." American officials believe that North Korean's young new leader Kim Jong-un has incentive to act hostile toward his enemies in order to boost his credibility with his military.


Read more Neon Tommy stories on North Korea here.

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