SEOUL, April 26 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday said that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) can conduct its fifth nuclear test at any time when the country determines.
Park told a meeting with chief editors of local news organizations that the DPRK finished preparations for another nuclear detonation and has been in a state of doing it whenever it determines, according to local media reports.
Citing the DPRK's recent launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine, Park said the DPRK can pose threats from any direction that can be hard to detect in advance, saying that experts assessed the DPRK's technology having partially advanced.
Pyongyang on Sunday announced its successful test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). South Korea's military said the missile was fired on Saturday in waters off the DPRK's northeast coast and flew about 30 km, indicating a partial advance in technology.
Concerns emerged here about the DPRK's fifth nuclear test due to increased activity at a main DPRK nuclear test site in northeastern region where Pyongyang conducted all of its four nuclear detonations. The latest one occurred on Jan. 6.
The fifth test, if conducted, is expected to be carried out before the historic ruling Workers' Party of Korea (DPRK) congress scheduled for early May.
Park warned that if Pyongyong conducts the fifth atomic bomb test, it will face stronger sanctions and pressure, saying there will be no way to prevent DPRK provocations other than far tougher sanctions that will fill a possible gap in the current sanctions.
Regarding the possible resumption of inter-Korean dialogue, Park said the DPRK's sincere change toward denuclearization must be secured as a prerequisite, stressing that the international community should make concerted efforts to make the DPRK give up its nuclear program.