Pyongyang ‘plans new nuke test’

AFP-JIJI

A North Korean official has apparently told Chinese authorities that the communist state is planning to conduct a third nuclear test this week, a news report said Saturday.

“We’ve heard a North Korean official in Beijing told the Chinese side that the North planned to carry out a nuclear test between Jan. 13-20,” the Joongang Ilbo daily quoted an unidentified Seoul official as saying.

South Korean officials have a policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.

“We’re now stepping up surveillance over the Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” the official said in reference to the North’s only nuclear test site, where tests were carried out in 2006 and 2009.

With the U.N. Security Council still debating possible sanctions against the North following the launch of a long-range rocket last month, there has been widespread speculation that Pyongyang may carry out a third nuclear test.