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North Korea prepared to conduct nuclear test

North Korea is prepared to conduct its fourth nuclear test, the South Korean defense minister said Thursday. The timing of the test, he said, is unclear as North Korea is adept at "psychological manipulations," and could "intentionally delay (the nuclear test) or employ a deceptive tactic."
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   Updated May 8, 2014 at 11:09 AM

SEOUL, May 8 (UPI) -- North Korea is prepared to conduct its fourth nuclear test, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told reporters on Thursday.

Satellite imagery shows increased activity at North Korea's main test site in Punggye-ri, and the defense minister noted that the readiness level is such that "North Korea can conduct an atomic test whenever it makes a decision."

Analysts were unable to determine whether highly-enriched uranium or plutonium was used in the last nuclear test, conducted underground in February 2013. Nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 likely used plutonium.

Although the South Korean defense minister stated that a nuclear test could be imminent, he acknowledged that "North Korea is very good at psychological manipulations ... Thus, we cannot rule out the possibility that the North could intentionally delay (the nuclear test) or employ a deceptive tactic simultaneously."

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