2/21/2011 01:34:00 p.m.
North Korea Prepares For Third Nuclear Test
A new tunnel is currently being dug at the North Korean Punggye-ri nuclear test centre, where North Korea conducted nuclear bomb tests in October 2006 and May 2009. The L-shaped tunnel is currently 800 m deep and, since it must be 1 km deep before it will be ready for a nuclear test, should be ready for testing by April 2011.
The DPRK's nuclear testing has been a source of huge contention in the Korean Peninsula, with implications not only for North-South relations but also international security. In January US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that North Korean would possess the ballistic missile capabilities to threaten the United States. Japan is particularly threatened by the DPRK's nuclear proliferation due to their geographical proximity and lingering bitterness over Japan's pre-1945 occupation of Korea.
2003 saw the initiation of the Six-party talks - a series of meetings aimed at addressing and finding a resolution to North Korea's nuclear proliferation. However, due to North Korea's lack of cooperation and brazen continuation of testing - particularly the very public launch of two long range Taepodong-2 missiles in 2006 - mean the talks have yet to make any significant progress.