A handout picture shows a Taurus missile fired from a South Korean jet moments before hitting its target. (AFP)
Seoul, Sept. 13: North Korea has resumed work at its underground nuclear testing site, defence analysts said, as the country vowed to keep expanding its nuclear arsenal despite the latest UN sanctions.
The defence analysts also said that the North's September 3 nuclear test, which Pyongyang said was of a hydrogen bomb, may have been much more powerful than previously estimated. In its first official reaction to the sanctions resolution adopted by the UN Security Council yesterday, North Korea's foreign ministry said today that the sanctions would only strengthen the country's resolve to pursue its nuclear weapons programme "at a faster pace without the slightest diversion".
The sanctions resolution, adopted in response to the nuclear test this month, was the ninth passed by the Security Council since North Korea's first such test in 2006. If enforced, it would deprive North Korea of 30 per cent of its annual fuel imports. It also bans imports of textiles from North Korea.
But the North, already heavily sanctioned, remained defiant today, saying that it would "redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country's sovereignty and right to existence" and establish "practical equilibrium with the US".
The statement, released through the North's state media, came at about the same time that a group of defence analysts, after studying recent satellite images, said they had detected new vehicles, mining carts and other signs of activity at the Punggye-ri underground nuclear test site in northeast North Korea.
"Such activity, coming shortly after the largest underground nuclear test conducted at Punggye-ri to date, suggests that on-site work could now be changing focus.
NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE