N Korea”s Kim warns of impending nuke, rocket tests

Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned of impending tests of a nuclear warhead explosion and ballistic missiles capable of carrying atomic warheads, state media reported on Tuesday , in an escalation of threats against Seoul and Washington.

The warning came as North Korea said it had made a breakthrough in its pursuit of a long-range missile capable of striking the US mainland. South Korea says the North has yet to develop a functioning inter-continental ballistic missile.

Kim issued the order for the tests “in a short time,” according to the Korean Central News Agency. The KCNA report did not say if Kim gave specific dates for the tests.

It is not clear if the tests would happen soon, given that any tests would likely invite harsher international sanctions after the country was hit by the toughest UN Security Council sanctions in two decades in early March for a nuclear test and long-range rocket launch conducted earlier this year.

Some of the North’s recent rhetoric was seen intended for a domestic audience to display government strength ahead of a major meeting of the ruling party in May.

In the past, North Korea has typically conducted nuclear tests and rocket launches every three to four years.