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North Korea Signals It’s Preparing for a Nuclear Test, Exploiting U.S.-Russia Rift

  • More work observed at site where previous bombs detonated
  • Punishment less likely as Russia, China oppose sanctions
Kim Jong Un walks around a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea this month.
Kim Jong Un walks around a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea this month.Source: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP Photo
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North Korea looks set to detonate its first nuclear bomb in more than four years, as the U.S.’s sanctions disputes with Russia and China make further United Nations penalties against the country unlikely. 

Workers have been observed digging a new passageway at the Punggye-ri site where North Korea conducted all six of its previous nuclear tests, South Korean media including the DongA Ilbo newspaper reported. A test could come as soon as next month, when Kim Jong Un is preparing to mark to mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, state founder Kim Il Sung, the paper said, citing a security official it didn’t identify.