With tensions on the Korean Peninsula already at their worst in years, the Associated Press is quoting an unnamed US official tonight as saying that there is evidence that North Korea may be preparing to conduct another underground nuclear test, just weeks after its previous test sparked international condemnation and growing concern that the Korean War, technically still going on though in a state of ceasefire since 1953 is about to restart, with nuclear weapons in the theater.
North Korea’s previous test, said to be roughly on par with the nuclear weapons the United States used against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War 2, was its first attempt since an apparent failure in 2006, and came just a month after the nation pulled out of disarmament talks.
The United Nations is poised to impose another series of harsh sanctions against the nation. Yet there is considerable doubt that the sanctions will have serious effect against the incredibly isolated nation. Previous sanctions appear to have had little impact on what little trade the nation is engaged in.
Another nuclear test will likely be seen as a serious insult by the United States, which has insisted that it will not accept the nation as a nuclear power. Yet in practice the nation is already a nuclear power, and the more serious concern is if the nation will test an ICBM capable of hitting the western coast of the US. Such a development could be a game-changer for US strategy in the region, though it insists it is not planning on invading North Korea at any rate.