North Korea Readies Nuclear Test

North Korea has begun preparations for a second nuclear test at a site in the north of the country, South Korean government sources have said, raising the diplomatic stakes over stalled nuclear disarmament talks.
By Peter Foster in Beijing
Telegraph (UK)

The move comes days after Pyongyang threatened to conduct further nuclear tests following its censure at the United Nations for a failed ballistic missile launch early last month.

It also comes as Washington dispatches Stephen Bosworth, its special envoy on North Korea, to Beijing and then to Seoul, Tokyo and Moscow in an effort to bring the isolated Stalinist regime back to the negotiating table.

Analysts say that Pyongyang will attempt to use the threat of a second nuclear test as a lever to gain concessions from negotiators. The last test in October 2006 was only a partial success according to the assessment of US defence officials.

The signs of increased activity at the Phunggye-ri site in the North Hamgyong province were reported in the South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper, quoting unnamed government sources.

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