There are hurried movements of soldiers and frequent entrances and exits of military vehicles said to be engaged in covert tunnel excavation for a nuclear missile test. The clandestine operation has been ongoing for a month now at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea.
According to NK News Org, if indeed this new tunnel being dug is for a new nuclear weapon testing, North Korea now has four existing nuclear tunnels. NorKor had conducted three nuclear firing drill three times in the past: in 2006 in the east tunnel, 2009 and 2013 both in the west tunnel. There had been no tests in the south tunnel so far.
North Korea had dangled nuclear war threats in the past numerous times already. While officials were easy to dismissed threats as mere propaganda, the tune shifted during a meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and his South Korean counterpart Han Min-goo.
Both defense leaders said that the meeting is a major leap forward as both nations signed the condition-based approach to the transition of wartime operational control. Such approach will ensure that the Republic of Korea forces have the necessary defensive capabilities to address the North Korean threat.
“This will be an important forum for us to cooperate and exchange information across a broad range of programs and technology. We also spoke today about North Korean threats — nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, cyber, conventional military threats,” Secretary Carter said.
Carter went on saying that North Korea is putting the peace and security of the Peninsula at risk, including the South Korean region and the United States.”The ever-present danger is the reason why we speak of the ability to fight tonight. No one ever wants to have to do that, but deterrence is guaranteed through strength, and that’s what the alliance is all about,” Carter told press. Carter called for North Korea to avoid tension on the peninsula, take the steps to denuclearize the peninsula and create a situation peaceful and prosperous for everyone.
Min-goo added that South Korea is one with U.S. in making policies that will address North Korea’s nuclear threat. He added that his nation will work with the American government to achieve defense cooperation in space to prepare for the escalating North Korean missile threat.