According to the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the likelihood that North Korea would conduct a nuclear bomb test has the entire globe on edge.
After a five-year ban, representatives in the United States and South Korea have cautioned for months that Pyongyang is planning for a nuclear test, which would indicate North Korea is moving quickly to create modern weaponry.
“Everybody is holding its breath about this, because another nuclear test would be yet another confirmation of a program which is moving full steam ahead, in a way that is incredibly, incredibly concerning,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi highlighted on Thursday.
According to Grossi, who spoke to media, “Further tests, of course, means that they are refining the preparations and the construction of their arsenal.”
“So we are following this very, very closely. We hope it doesn’t happen, but indications unfortunately go in another direction,” he remarked.
North Korea’s recent demonstration of its range of short- and long-range ballistic missile functionality, which has left neighbours South Korea and Japan deeply worried about North Korea’s motives, has sparked fears of a nuclear bomb test, which would be their first nuclear explosion of a device since 2017.
The US, South Korea, and Japan declared on Wednesday that if North Korea performs a seventh nuclear weapon test, an “unprecedented” level of response will be necessary.
The three partners “agreed that an unparalleled scale of response would be necessary if North Korea pushes ahead with a seventh nuclear test,” South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong said at a media briefing in Tokyo.
Cho spoke together with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori.
Grossi of the IAEA stated he did not believe a test by North Korea was about to happen right away.
In answer to a question, he replied, “We see preparation, we see a lot of things, but in terms of degrees of imminence, no.”
A nuclear strike by North Korea against US objectives or partners would result in the “end” of Kim Jong Un’s regime, according to the Pentagon’s recent analysis of US defense requirements and priorities.
The Nuclear Posture Review for the United States for 2022 states, “Our strategy for North Korea recognises the threat posed by its nuclear, chemical, missile, and conventional capabilities, and in particular, the need to make clear to the Kim regime the dire consequences should it use nuclear weapons.”
“Any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its Allies and partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime.”
“There is no scenario in which the Kim regime could employ nuclear weapons and survive,” the document stated.
“Further, we will hold the regime responsible for any transfers it makes of nuclear weapons technology, material, or expertise to any state or non-state actor.”
In reaction to the risk presented by the US and its South Korean partners, North Korea has claimed to be launching missiles. Pyongyang fired hundreds of artillery rounds off its coast last week in what it described as a warning to its southern neighbour. Pyongyang had become enraged by South Korea’s recent military drills with the US, including joint military exercises involving the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and accompanying ships.