Open sources, including the Straits Times of Singapore, are reporting that North Korea is doing pre-nuke bomb tests and has probably nearly finished reprocessing its plutonium. This confirms that we are not even a year away from a fully nuclear North Korea. At this point, there is probably nothing but war that can stop them from going fully nuclear. This is from the Sydney Morning Herald:
North Korea has conducted 70 high-explosive tests linked to nuclear weapons development, South Korea's spy chief was quoted as saying last night.John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, spoke to the matter yesterday. He uses hopeful language, though this may be because his nation is wary (and weary) of supporting US-led wars:
The claim was made just hours after the Prime Minister, John Howard, began reining in Australia's tough talk on North Korea, amid warnings that military threats could provoke a nuclear confrontation.
A senior source in Seoul said that Ko Young-Koo, a National Intelligence Service director, had told parliament: 'We have also noticed high-explosive tests being conducted in Yongdok district in Gusong City in [the north-western province of] North Pyongyang and we have been keeping track of the movement."
He also said that North Korea had apparently begun reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods, a program that could yield enough plutonium for half-a-dozen atomic bombs within months.
Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard says he is still hopeful the stand-off over North Korea's nuclear weapons program can be solved diplomatically.
But Mr Howard says North Korea's statement that it is willing to go to war is worrying.
Mr Howard says Australia will join America in military training exercises in september to fine tune skills needed for the interception of vessels suspected of carrying nuclear weapons.
"Clearly the training that will take place over the next few weeks will mean that different countries, including Australia, are ready if we do decided to do that," he said.
Australia agreed on Thursday to contribute forces to interdiction training exercises at a meeting of the 11-nation Proliferation Security Initiative, in the Australian state of Queensland.
North Korea has said it's ready for war if America resorts to force.