North Korea tests 'nuclear detonators', says UN

North Korea tests ‘nuclear detonators’, says UN

UN experts report that North Korea is testing “nuclear detonation devices” and that its preparations for another atomic test were in a final phase in June, citing information from unnamed countries.

In new excerpts from their latest report obtained Friday by The Associated Press, the experts said they had “been unable to identify the locations or dates of tests” of nuclear detonators reported by a UN member state.

In excerpts obtained Thursday, experts said North Korea is preparing the ground for additional nuclear tests with new preparations at its northeastern test site and continuing to develop its ability to produce a crucial ingredient for atomic weapons.

The panel said in the new excerpts that “in the early days of June, two member states determined that preparations for nuclear tests were in their final phase.”

Turning to other matters, the panel said Thursday that North Korea has carried out two major hacks this year, resulting in the theft of cryptocurrency assets valued at “hundreds of millions of dollars.” Pyongyang also continues to illegally import oil and export coal in violation of UN sanctions, using the same companies, networks and ships, he noted.

South Korean and US intelligence officials have said they have detected North Korean attempts to prepare its Punggye-ri test site for another nuclear test. It would be the seventh that the country has carried out since 2006 and the first since September 2017, when it said it had detonated a thermonuclear bomb that it could place on its ballistic missiles.

The expert panel’s report to the UN Security Council provided some details of the work North Korea is doing at the site. Experts said they observed the North Koreans digging again in March at the entrance to Tunnel 3 at Punggye-ri “and rebuilding supporting buildings dismantled in May 2018.”

With information from AP.



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