‘North Korea Will Test H-Bomb’
A Korean-Japanese scholar who is considered North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s unofficial spokesman said yesterday that Pyongyang has a hydrogen bomb it would test as part of a series of actions mentioned in its statement against the United States.
In an interview with MBC radio, Kim Myong-chol, director of the Center for Korean-American Peace, a Japan-based pro-North Korean research agency, said the Stalinist state is ready to test its H-bomb or conduct a nuclear test larger than its proclaimed test on Monday.
The North’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement Wednesday that it would respond with a series of physical measures if Washington steps up pressure on Pyongyang.
Asked to provide evidence that the North has developed its own thermonuclear weapons, Kim replied, ``That’s why we are going to test the bomb. A test will prove that we’ve got everything necessary just as we had with our nuclear weapons.’’
Kim blamed the United States and others who question the authenticity of Monday’s test for suspicions about whether the North actually possesses nuclear weapons. ``The United States, which initiated a war in Iraq on groundless claims of weapons of mass destruction, is raising absurd suspicions over the North’s nuclear tests,’’ he said.
The North will regard the United Nations resolution imposing sanctions, whether financial or military, as a declaration of war, he said.
``If the Bush administration makes more provocations, both New York City and Tokyo will be blazed,’’ Kim said. He added the North is targeting the United States but does not want to wage a war against the South as long as Seoul takes a neutral position.
Kim said he made his last visit to Pyongyang in January and has communicated with high-ranking North Korean officials on a regular basis, claiming that his remarks represent the ideas of Pyongyang.
``The destiny of the Korean Peninsula will be decided within a week, and South Korea should maintain its neutral stance,’’ he said in a KBS radio interview. ``Seoul should request that Washington not mobilize U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) even if a war breaks out.’’
The Ministry of Unification, however, downplayed Kim’s remarks.
``Kim is not trustworthy, and his claims should be ignored,’’ a ranking ministry official told The Korea Times.
MBC also expressed concern before airing the interview, which was recorded a few hours before the radio show, asking its listeners to consider Kim’s remarks as claims by some North Korean hardliners.
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