DPRK ready to conduct another nuke test: S. Korean military

Thousands of United States soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.

What North Korea's opponents can actually do is problematic.

North Korea was hit with the strongest set of sanctions yet in March which included the prohibition of supplying aviation fuel, including rocket fuel, and the sale of small arms, to Pyongyang.

The detection Friday of North Korea's fifth nuclear test brought new pressure on China, Pyongyang's economic lifeline and the closest thing it has to a political ally.

Citing an unidentified government official, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported earlier Monday that Pyongyang had completed preparations for another nuclear test in its previously unused third tunnel at the Punggye-ri site in the northeast.

Moon refused to say what specific evidence pointed to another possible nuclear test.

"South Korea has already developed a plan to annihilate the North Korean capital of Pyongyang through intensive bombing in case the North shows any signs of a nuclear attack", South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said, quoting a military source.

Bad weather Monday delayed for at least 24 hours a USA plan to send warplanes from Guam to South Korea, as it has done after past provocations by North Korea.

The US also plans to send a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier - the USS Ronald Reagan - and five destroyers to South Korean waters next month for a joint naval exercise, according to Yonhap.

Emboldened by recent technical progress, the Kim Jong-un regime may push for the fresh launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching USA mainland, possibly in time for the October 10 anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party or the U.S. presidential election slated for November 8, observers say.

The United Nations is working on levying further sanctions on North Korea after the Friday test, which the country has scoffed at.

Those districts which are thought to be hiding the leadership would be particularly targeted and the city "will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map".

China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday (Sept 12) that sanctions alone cannot solve the North Korean nuclear issue and that unilateral action can only lead to a dead end.

The nuclear programme's "miraculous successes" mean that the North has not only United States bases in the Asia-Pacific but also the U.S. mainland "in its clutches", ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Monday.

China has said it "firmly opposes" the test, but analysts believe Beijing wants to avoid a collapse of North Korea in order to prevent the balance of power on the Korean peninsula from leaning towards the U.S.

Both China and Russian Federation, the remaining veto powers, backed sanctions imposed in March following the North's January nuclear test, but their apparent ambivalence about fresh sanctions cast doubt on the Security Council's ability to quickly form a consensus.

U.S. troops have been based in South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War of 1950-53 ended only in an armistice and not a full peace treaty.

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