PYONGYANG, September 15. /TASS/. North Korea is building up its nuclear potential both in quantity and quality, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a statement released on Tuesday.
North Korea is fully ready to cope with US hostile policy "with nuclear weapons any time," KCNA quoted the director of the country’s Atomic Energy Institute as saying.
This readiness can be confirmed by the fact that North Korea’s main nuclear facility in Yongbyon in the country’s northwest has "started normal operation," according to KCNA.
Following a regular round of six-party talks on the North Korea nuclear issue in 2007 with the participation of Russia, China, South Korea, the United States and Japan, North Korea agreed to close down its Yongbyon nuclear center in exchange for economic aid. However, in 2009, Pyongyang withdrew from the nuclear talks and expelled inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from Yongbyon. Last year, some foreign analytical centers reported that North Korea was stepping up works to modernize its nuclear facility.
Simultaneously, North Korea is improving the missile component of its nuclear shield. The director of the National Committee for Space Technology said on Monday the country was completing the development of its own satellite for the Earth’s surveillance, which would be launched in the country’s economic interests.
North Korea’s expected launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile poses a big security threat and will be a breach of the relevant UN Security Council resolution, a spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of Unification said in Seoul on Monday.
"If North Korea really makes this step, this will be a serious breach of the corresponding resolutions of the UN Security Council," the spokesman said.
"South Korea and the United States are closely working together and preparing for any scenario, including a possible launch of a ballistic missile by Pyongyang," the spokesman said.
Tokyo and Seoul believe that the missile launch may be timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s Workers’ Party, which will be celebrated on October 10.
The South Korean Defense Ministry earlier said North Korea had modernized a compound for long-range missiles in the area near the border with China.
According to the ministry, North Korea built a 67-meter launch pad at the Dongchang-ri range, which will allow the launches of missiles twice as large as the Ynkha-3 rocket, which placed a satellite into orbit in 2012.