North Korea is preparing a third nuclear weapons test in addition to testing its rocket launch in defiance of Western powers, the South Korea-based Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday.
The news agency cited “an intelligence official,” who did not wish to be named, it said. “North Korea is making clandestine preparations for a third nuclear test at Punggye-ri in North Hamkyong Province, where it conducted two nuclear tests in the past,” the official told Yonhap.
Satellite imagery shows that the isolated, communist country is constructing a new tunnel underground to conduct the tests, in the same area where previous tests were carried out in 2006 and later in 2009, Yonhap said.
North Korea in the past has test-fired missiles before carrying out nuclear tests. Three months after firing the long-range Taepodong-2 rocket, it made its first nuclear test, and it engaged in a similar pattern in the 2009 incident.
On Sunday, North Korea appeared to move its long-range rocket—which Pyongyang claims is to put a satellite into orbit—into position to launch later this week, to coincide with the birthday of its founder, Kim Il Sung, reported The Associated Press.
President Barack Obama a few weeks ago warned North Korea that testing the rocket would be at the risk further isolation. Japan and South Korea said that if the rocket comes near their territories, they will shoot it down.