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(LEAD) Defense officials, experts to gauge N. Korea's nuclear capability

All News 14:47 January 19, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- Defense officials and experts gathered here together Tuesday to gauge North Korea's nuclear capability following the communist country's recent nuclear test.

Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo, Vice Minister of National Defense Hwang In-moo and 17 other defense and military officials held a workshop at the defense ministry with seven experts on North Korea, mostly from state-run research centers including the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

Technical assessment of the recent nuclear test by North Korea, how to respond to the test on the diplomatic front and how to denuclearize the communist country were the main topics of the discussion, according to the ministry.

"The latest nuclear test has made many South Koreans uneasy," Minister Han said in the opening remarks of the meeting.

"The recent nuclear test is a grave provocation that directly threatens the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the world, and South Korea is facing serious worries," the minister noted.

On Jan. 6, the North claimed it conducted a "successful hydrogen bomb test," a claim discredited by the international community.

The ministry will draw on the experts' analyses in order to come up with defense policies to respond to North Korea's emerging nuclear threats, the ministry said.


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