US intelligence sees N Korea test work-daily
SEOUL, May 3 (Reuters) US intelligence has detected
the movement of heavy equipment in North Korea that points to possible
preparations for an underground nuclear test, a South Korean newspaper said
The influential Chosun Ilbo, quoting a government source, said US spy satellites
had captured frequent movements of trucks in the north-eastern region of Kilju,
as well as the movement of cranes and other heavy equipment into the area.
''US intelligence authorities believe the images and other information point to
preparations for a possible underground nuclear test,'' the source was quoted as
US and Japanese news reports last week said Washington had warned some
governments and agencies that North Korea could be preparing for a test, which
would represent a serious escalation of tensions over North Korea's nuclear
US and South Korean officials have since denied there were definitive signs of
an imminent test. On Tuesday Seoul shot down the latest report, with Defence
Minister Yoon Kwang-ung telling reporters before a cabinet meeting there were no
unusual indications in the area.
A Defence Ministry official told Reuters there also was no foundation to the
Chosun Ilbo report that the US intelligence was passed on to the South Korean
He said a project to dig a tunnel had been detected in the same area in the late
1990s and the two countries had been watching it closely, without any sign of
preparations for a test.
''It is not clear what the purpose of the tunnel is,'' the official added.
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