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North Korea nuclear site 'primed and ready' as Kim prepares to throw down gauntlet to US

Donald Trump has said Kim Jong-Un would be “making a big mistake” to conduct a new nuclear test.

Image: Wong Maye-E AP/Press Association Images

AMID CONCERNS THAT North Korea is on the verge of executing its sixth nuclear test, a US-based monitoring group believes it has found evidence to show that the country is “primed and ready” at one of its nuclear sites.

38North says that satellite images of the Punggye-ri site in the north of the country shows that a nuclear test could be imminent.

On its website, the group said: “Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site from 12 April shows continued activity around the site’s command centre.

“In the courtyards of the main administrative area are approximately 11 probable tarp-covered pallets of equipment or supplies, a formation of personnel, and several individuals walking about.”

US President Donald Trump has dispatched an aircraft carrier group to the Korean peninsula, to support allies Japan and South Korea in the face of increasingly hostile relations with North Korea.

“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” he told the Fox Business Network.

We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.

“He is doing the wrong thing,” he added of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. “He’s making a big mistake.”

Trump has tweeted on the subject on several occasions this week, appearing to be trying to get China on the side of the US.

trump tweet 2 Source: Donald J Trump via Twitter

trump tweet 1 Source: Donald J Trump via Twitter

Beijing has urged Trump to take a peaceful approach to resolving the issue, but the Global Times newspaper, which sometimes reflects the thinking of the leadership, issued an unequivocal warning to Pyongyang that it should “avoid making mistakes at this time”.

A new test would be a “slap in the face of the US government” and Beijing would not “remain indifferent”, it said.

Ready for war

The North has reiterated its constant refrain that it is ready for “war” with the US.

Successive governments in Washington have only attacked states which “do not have nukes”, the official North Korean KCNA agency quoted a foreign ministry statement as saying, “and the same is true of the Trump administration”.

What happened in Syria once again taught a bitter lesson that no one should have an illusion about the imperialists and one can defend oneself from the imperialist aggression only when one has one’s strength.

Today, KCNA reported separately that Kim had watched special forces drop from light transport planes “like hail” and “mercilessly blew up enemy targets” during an exercise.

“The contest proved once again that our Korean People’s Army… will show a real taste of gun shot and real taste of war to the reckless invaders,” KCNA said.

Nerve gas

Earlier today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary committee that North Korea is capable of delivering a deadly nerve gas attack, similar to the one the US believes the Syrian government used on its own people last week.

“There is a possibility that North Korea is already capable of delivering (via missile) a warhead containing sarin,” Abe told a parliamentary diplomacy and defence committee, referring to the poison nerve agent.

Government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga elaborated: “Referring to the Syrian situation, our prime minister displayed a recognition that we can’t deny the possibility that North Korea can equip (a missile) with chemical weapons.

North Korea… is likely to maintain several facilities to produce chemical weapons and already possess a considerable number of them.

With reporting from AFP - © AFP, 2017

Read: US moves Navy strike group in show of force against North Korea

Read: Trump finally set to meet Xi Jinping after Twitter rants about China

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Sean Murray

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