The threat of such a test, coming amid plans to test a controversial rocket this week, is seen as an effort by North Korea to extort more aid from the international community.
North Korea may be planning a nuclear test, according to new intelligence reports from South Korea. Such a test would defy United Nations Security Council resolutions and contravene promises Pyongyang made in 2005 to "curtail its nuclear activities in exchange for aid," according to CNN.
News of the possible atomic test comes as North Korea is already facing international condemnation over a controversial rocket test scheduled for this week. Testing an atomic device as well will likely further strain already tense relations between the reclusive nation and its neighbors.
North Korean officials contend that the rocket launch is for peaceful purposes and will celebrate the 100th birthday of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung. They say that the rocket is part of a space program, but a number of regional authorities say it is most likely a thinly disguised test of a long-range missile. American and regional officials also contend that the rocket violates UN resolutions.