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PoliticsNorth Korea

North Korea hints it may resume nuclear tests

January 20, 2022

North Korean state media said the country would consider restarting "suspended activities," amid preparations for a "long-term confrontation" with the United States.

Kim Jong Un at a politburo meeting; a Worker's Party flag is seen in the background
North Korea's ruling party announced it could resume nuclear weapons testsImage: KCNA/KNS/AP/picture alliance

North Korea hinted on Thursday that it could resume nuclear and long-range weapons tests.

North Korea said that it would bolster its defenses against the United States and consider restarting "all temporally [sic] suspended activities," state media KCNA's English language portal reported on Thursday.

People in Seoul, South Korea, watch a news program reporting on North Korea's missile launch
North Korea launched a ballistic missile on MondayImage: Lee Jin-man/AP Photo/picture alliance

What kind of tests is North Korea resuming?

North Korea has been observing a self-imposed moratorium on testing its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. The country has not tested nuclear weapons or inter-continental ballistic missiles since 2017.

Over the following two years, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with former US President Donald Trump three times, after which talks collapsed.

Tensions have risen between North Korea and the United States over a recent series of North Korean missile tests. This includes the launch of a ballistic missile on Monday, the fourth launch by North Korea this month.

Earlier this week the United States called for North Korea to "cease its unlawful and destabilizing activities", saying that it would seek new UN sanctions.

When the United States imposed fresh sanctions last week, North Korea said that this was a "provocation" and ramped up weapons tests.

North Korean officials and Kim Jong Un sitting at a table at a politburo meeting; the officials are seen taking notes
Kim Jong Un convened a meeting of the politburo of the ruling Workers' PartyImage: Yonhap/picture alliance

North Korea preparing for 'long-term confrontation'

Kim Jong Un convened a meeting of the politburo of the ruling Workers' Party on Wednesday, KCNA said.

The meeting was convened to discuss policy issues including countermeasures over "hostile" US policy.

Besides discussing the restarting "temporally suspended activities," the politburo also called for "immediately bolstering more powerful physical means."

"We should make more thorough preparation for a long-term confrontation with the U.S. imperialists," the politburo said.

 "The hostile policy and military threat by the US have reached a danger line that cannot be overlooked anymore."

sdi/msh (AFP, Reuters)