North Korea Warns of New Form of Nuclear Test

North Korea’s central news organ broadcast a statement from the communist nation’s foreign ministry blasting recent UN Security Council criticism of the country’s “justifiable” recent rocket and missile drills. The March 30 release indicated that North Korea could expand its nuclear testing efforts and strategic rocket forces exercises. The country plans military drills that will involve “various forms of exercises in which more diversified nuclear deterrence will be used for hitting various medium- and long-range targets with a variety of striking power,” reads the statement. North Korea will not “rule out a new form of nuclear test for bolstering up its nuclear deterrence,” warns the statement. Public statements from South Korean officials and imagery analysis show the hermit state has accelerated excavation of its Punggye-ri test site, including new tunnel entrances. The excavation pattern indicates North Korea could be building a larger complex to allow greater testing, according to analysis from Jeffrey Lewis of the Monterey Institute’s Center for Nonproliferation Studies. If the country pursues further testing, the goal will be to develop smaller nuclear weapons to fit on its ballistic missiles, believes Lewis.