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    Jan 13, 2016

    N. Korea: Nuke test not meant to provoke


    NORTH Korea said yesterday its nuclear test was not intended to be a provocation or threat, as it laid out plans for a weapons system capable of obliterating the entire United States.

    A lengthy commentary by the official KCNA news agency underlined the North's claim that last Wednesday's test was of a powerful miniaturised hydrogen bomb which marked a "new high stage" in the country's search for a credible nuclear deterrent.

    Experts have largely dismissed the claim, saying the test yield was far too low for a full-fledged thermonuclear device.

    "The test was neither to 'threaten' anyone, nor to 'provoke' someone for a certain purpose," KCNA said, insisting that the main focus was on providing a "sure guarantee" of the North's immunity from attack by hostile forces.

    Prime among those forces was the US, it said, offering an apocalyptic vision of how it would respond to US aggression. North Korean scientists and technicians "are in high spirit to detonate H-bombs of hundreds of kilotonnes and megatonnes, capable of wiping out the whole territory of the US all at once", it said.

    The North is also seeking a peace treaty with the US, China and South Korea to formally end the Korean War and will not stop its nuclear tests until it gets one, a person who relayed that message from North Korea to China told Reuters.

    North Korea has repeatedly said it wants a peace treaty to formally end the war. The US and China have dangled the prospect of better ties, including the lifting of sanctions and eventually a likely peace treaty, if North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons.