South Korea's unification minister said Tuesday that North Korea may announce its completion of nuclear force within one year as the North has advanced its nuclear program at a faster pace.
Cho Myoung-gyon made the remark as Japan's Kyodo News reported that radio signals suggested that North Korea might be preparing for a ballistic missile launch after a roughly 70-day absence of provocations.
"North Korea has been developing its nuclear weapons at a faster pace. We cannot rule out the possibility that North Korea could announce its completion of nuclear force in a year," Cho told foreign correspondents in Seoul.
He said that next year will be a key year for North Korea as the wayward regime marks the 70th anniversary of its establishment in 2018.
The North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September and fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. But it has refrained from provocations following its launch of an intermediate-range missile over Japan on Sept. 15.
Cho said that North Korea seems to have conducted tests of missile engines and fuels even amid a lull in provocations.
"It is the fact that we have witnessed some noteworthy movements in North Korea. But it remains to be seen whether Pyongyang would make further provocations," he added.
|This photo taken on Nov. 28, 2017 shows South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon having a press conference with foreign journalists in Seoul. (Yonhap)|
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