Wednesday, May 04, 2005

North Korea May Test Nukes Soon!

North Korea could hold a nuclear test as early as next month, a senior Russian lawmaker warned on Tuesday, saying the situation had reached a critical point.
"There are grounds now to believe that North Korea may test a nuclear device already in June," the head of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, was quoted as saying. Kosyachov, who is to lead a delegation of Russian lawmakers to Pyongyang later this week, criticized the United States for seeking to put pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program. "Attempts by the United States to exert pressure on Pyongyang ... are counterproductive and could knock North Korea out of talks completely," the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying. Kosachyov's remarks came as a South Korean newspaper reported that U.S. intelligence had detected the movement of heavy equipment in North Korea that pointed to possible preparations for an underground nuclear test. The influential Chosun Ilbo, quoting a government source, said U.S. spy satellites had captured frequent movements of trucks in the north-eastern region of Kilju, as well as the movement of cranes and other heavy equipment into the area. U.S. and South Korean officials have denied there were definitive signs of an imminent test.