Sat, Jun 13, 2009 - Page 1 News List

S Korea braces for new atomic test

BITING SANCTIONS US intelligence officials said they believed that pending UN Security Council measures against North Korea would lead to a third nuclear test

AFP , SEOUL

South Korea has sent hundreds more Marines to its tense border with North Korea, military officials said yesterday as world powers prepared to punish the communist state for its nuclear test.

US intelligence officials believe Pyongyang will respond to the UN Security Council resolution with a third atomic test, sources quoted by US TV networks said.

More Marines were sent last week to two islands along the disputed Yellow Sea border, the scene of bloody naval battles in 1999 and 2002, a Marine Corps source said.

He gave no figures but Yonhap news agency said more than 600 had been sent to Yeonpyeong and Baekryeong islands to reinforce the present garrisons.

The North followed up its second nuclear test on May 25 by launching short-range missiles, renouncing the armistice on the Korean peninsula and threatening possible attacks on its neighbor.

It is also pressuring South Korean firms at the Kaesong joint industrial estate north of the border — the last reconciliation project between the two nations — by demanding huge rent and wage increases.

Fox News said US intelligence officials had warned US President Barack Obama that the North would respond to the UN resolution with a nuclear test. South Korea’s defense ministry said this was a possibility.

The Security Council was to meet yesterday for a likely vote on a draft sanctions resolution agreed by its five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US — plus Japan and South Korea.

The text calls on UN member states to slap biting sanctions on North Korea.

They include tougher inspections of cargo suspected of containing banned missile or nuclear-related items, a tighter arms embargo with the exception of light weapons and new financial restrictions.

Also See: Japan TV mistakes S Korean for son of N Korean leader

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