South Korea: North appears close to nuclear test

North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launch pad in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, in 2012

Seoul, SOUTH KOREA — North Korea could well be preparing to carry out a fourth nuclear test, South Korea said Tuesday, citing increased activity at its main test site just days ahead of a visit to Seoul by US President Barack Obama.

“Our military is currently detecting a lot of activity in and around the Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told a press briefing.

Kim stressed that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was at a stage where it could conduct a test “at any moment” once the order was given by the leadership in Pyongyang.

North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests — in 2006, 2009 and 2013 — all at the Punggye-ri site in the northeast of the country…

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