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North Korea is waiting time before carrying out the seventh nuclear test, experts say

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SEOUL, South Korea – Last week, North Korea launched at least 30 missiles and hundreds of artillery shells following threats from Pak Jong Chon, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. He strongly condemned the joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, saying “the United States and South Korea will realize the irrevocable and terrible mistake they made.” While many observers sought to dissect his statement as a nuclear test threat, others believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is biding his time.

“I think Kim has been holding off on a nuclear test because he wants to rub it in the US and South Korea with a major Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile test before escalating further with a nuclear test,” said Sung-Yoon Lee, a professor of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, he told Fox News Digital.

Recalling the failure to impose new UN Security Council resolutions even after North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles this year, Lee added that the North Korean leader “has nothing to lose by taking his time and continuing his strategy of gradual escalation before delivering its coup de grâce, a large nuclear test or even a series of tests”.

Kim Jong Un oversees a missile launch at an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this photo released on October 9, 2022 by the North Korean Central News Agency.
(KCNA via Reuters)

NORTH KOREA FIRES 4 MORE BALLISTIC MISSILES THAN US AND SOUTH KOREA EXERCISES

As South Korea and the United States have reinvigorated their joint military exercises, including the latest “Storm Watcher” air drill, North Korea has routinely responded by launching ballistic missiles and firing artillery shells.

The North also launched a short-range ballistic missile toward South Ulleung County, the first such launch of a missile south of the Northern Boundary Line, the de facto sea border between the two Koreas, since the two Koreas were divided.

Seoul and Washington have condemned the North’s ballistic missile launches as a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Furthermore, the North’s artillery fire is a violation of the military agreement signed by then South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un during the Pyongyang summit in September 2018.

SOUTH KOREA SCRAMBLES JETS AS NORTH KOREA LAUNCHES 180 FLIGHTS ACROSS BORDER

People stand next to a television screen showing archival footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul train station on August 2, 2019.

People stand next to a television screen showing archival footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the Seoul train station on August 2, 2019.
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

However, North Korea has shown no hesitation in its military provocations towards the South, as China and Russia are expected to continue to use their vetoes to impose new sanctions in the UN Security Council. In addition, the military agreement between the two Koreas has been ineffective in de-escalating the growing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

In this context, North Korea has apparently stepped up its provocations towards South Korea and the US, but only launched ballistic missiles, including its Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), showing no new moves in its nuclear test.

Kim Jong Un vowed to strengthen his country’s nuclear capabilities in September, signaling that the North’s seventh nuclear test is imminent. North Korea also codified a new law to legitimize the preemptive use of nuclear weapons under certain conditions, furthering Kim’s plan to develop powerful tactical nuclear weapons that can be deployed with front-line units near the shared Korean border.

NORTH KOREA LAUNCHES ICBM AT JAPAN DAY AFTER FIRING 23 MISSILES NEAR SOUTH KOREA; USA CONDEMNS ‘RAPE’

An Army Tactical Missile System missile is fired during a joint U.S.-South Korea military drill at an undisclosed location in South Korea on October 5, 2022.

An Army Tactical Missile System missile is fired during a joint U.S.-South Korea military drill at an undisclosed location in South Korea on October 5, 2022.
(South Korea Defense Ministry via AP)

Along with Pyongyang’s efforts to restore its Punggye-ri nuclear site, which was captured by satellite images earlier this year, Seoul and Washington have already said that Pyongyang appears to have completed preparations for a nuclear test. Seoul’s spy agency said North Korea could conduct a nuclear test sometime between October 16 and November 7, a timetable set between the opening of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and the midterm elections. period in the United States on November 8.

Under a five-year plan to modernize the country’s military and defense system, which was proposed during the Eighth Party Congress in January 2021, some observers believe it is only a matter of time before Kim Jong Un carries out a nuclear test. However, as North Korea has not conducted its test on the schedule suggested by South Korea’s spy agency, it is unclear whether Kim will hold one this year.

South Korea and the United States wrapped up six days of military exercises involving hundreds of military personnel on Saturday. The North claimed that the drill was practice for a full-scale invasion.

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