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Is North Korea Resuming Nuclear Build Up?

US and South Korean officials say there are signs of new construction at North Korea’s only nuke test site – which has been officially shuttered since 2018.

Satellite images by Maxar from March appeared to show repair work happening at the Punggye-ri site, which may suggest Pyongyang could be preparing to resume testing nuclear weapons.

“The nuclear forces of our Republic should be fully prepared to fulfil their responsible mission and put their unique deterrent in motion at any time,” Kim told an audinece, according to state news agency KCNA.

The fundamental mission of the North’s nuclear force is to “deter war”, but its use “can never be confined to the single mission,” he added.

“If any forces try to violate the fundamental interests of our state, our nuclear forces will have to decisively accomplish its unexpected second mission,” Kim said.

The parade Monday night was to mark the 90th anniversary of North Korea’s army – the backbone of the Kim family’s authoritarian rule -and comes as the country faces an economy battered by pandemic-related difficulties, punishing US-led sanctions and its own mismanagement.

North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes are banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions, which have imposed sanctions on the country.

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