Friday, January 05, 2007

North Korea May Be Preparing Second Nuclear Test

North Korea appears to have made preparation for another nuclear test, American officials said. "We think they've put everything in place to conduct a test without any notice or warning," an unidentified US defense official was quoted as saying. The official, the report said, cautioned that the intelligence is inconclusive as to whether North Korea will actually go ahead with another test, but said the preparations are similar to the steps taken by Pyongyang before it shocked the world by conducting its first nuclear test last October.Two other senior defense officials said that recent intelligence suggested that the North Koreans appear to be ready to test a nuclear weapon again, but the intelligence community is divided over whether another test is likely. "That would surprise me," a senior intelligence official said when asked if North Korea is likely to soon conduct another test. Another official, the report said, had a different view, predicting North Korea would conduct a test sometime over the next two or three months.