A confidential source, a senior official with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing, has notified Reuters that North Korea is preparing for a third nuclear test. This source correctly predicted the two previous nuclear tests carried out by North Korea in 2006 and 2009. This action, along with the long-range rocket test from April 13, is coordinated for new ruler Kim Jong-un to solidify his control on power. After taking office in December, Kim Jong-un has reaffirmed “his father’s ‘military first’ policies that have stunted economic development and appear[ ] to dash slim hopes of an opening to the outside world.” The US, South Korea and Japan are said to be “watching events anxiously” as they have “most to fear from any North Korean nuclear threat.” It is unclear at this time whether North Korea will have the capacity to use highly enriched uranium, which will make any nuclear bomb more easily transported on a long-range missile.
See Benjamin Kang Lim, Exclusive: North Korea’s nuclear test ready “soon”, Reuters, (April 24, 2012), http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/24/us-korea-north-nuclear-idUSBRE83N07420120424.