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NSC to prepare for possibility of escalating tensions as N. Korea hints at resuming major weapons tests

All News 18:12 January 20, 2022

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- The presidential National Security Council (NSC) said Thursday it will prepare for the possibility of escalating tensions as North Korea hinted at restarting nuclear and long-range missile tests.

North Korea held a key meeting of the ruling Workers' Party earlier this week and decided to consider restarting "all temporarily-suspended" activities, the North's state media reported earlier in the day, apparently referring to its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.

The standing members of the NSC "decided to prepare for the possibility of further deterioration of the situation, while continuing efforts to stabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula and resume dialogue with North Korea," Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

The North's latest threat came after it fired suspected ballistic missiles four times in a row this month, including two of what it claims to be a hypersonic missile.

The U.S. responded to the launches by slapping new sanctions on the regime, and it is pushing for the expansion of the U.N. Security Council sanctions.

North Korea has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM testing since late 2017.

Experts said that North Korea could further ramp up pressure on the U.S. with more weapons tests, especially as it is set to mark key national holidays -- the 80th birthday of Kim's late father, Kim Jong-il, on Feb. 16 and the 110th birthday of his late grandfather, Kim Il-sung, on April 15 -- in the coming months.

Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul (Yonhap)

Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul (Yonhap)


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