10/19/2006, 00.00
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Seoul says Pyongyang will launch more nuclear tests soon

A South Korean MP, member of the Intelligence Committee of Seoul's Parliament, confirmed that clues coming from several countries indicate that another three or four nuclear tests are being prepared. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-il reappeared in public.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea is "ready to carry out at least another three or four nuclear tests in the near future" after the first one on 9 October. This was announced by a South Korean MP today.

Chung Hyung-keun, member of the Grand National opposition party and of the Intelligence Committee of Seoul's Parliament, said: "According to credible signals, Pyongyang is preparing for a second test at Kilju site, the same place as the first experiment." The signals "are coming from the Intelligence agencies of many countries: it is certain that the North will conduct more nuclear tests in the future".

Chung said last week's test was conducted in a well horizontally excavated in a hill. Since then, "30 or 40 people were repeatedly sighted in the same areas, giving rise to speculations of preparations for a second test."

Shortly after the first test, the UN Security Council approved a resolution imposing economic sanctions against North Korea. The document was slammed by Pyongyang that described as a "declaration of war".

Meanwhile, the leader of the Stalinist regime, Kim Jong-il, appeared in public for the first time since international condemnation was heaped on his nuclear program. According to Pyongyang's official media, Kim attended a performance by the Korean People's Army to mark the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Down with Imperialism Union, the first public organ founded by his father, the Eternal President of Korea, Kim Il-sung.

The dictator's public appearances are indicative of the way in which the north of the peninsula manages international affairs. Analysts say "he often disappears when he is planning something". He remained out of the public eye for 40 days when his country test-fired missiles on 4 July.

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