Following a tense week, North Korea upped the ante in its feud with South Korea and the United States by threatening to conduct a nuclear test.
North Korea clarifies "its resolute stand that it would take counter-measures including nuclear test to protect the sovereignty and dignity," the newspaper said in a commentary carried by the official KCNA news agency.
South Korean officials had warned earlier this week that they suspected preparations for another test might be underway. Both the warning and today's announcement contradict recent offerings by American analysts, who weren't so confident that another nuclear test would be forthcoming.
The last North Korean nuclear test—the country's third in seven years—was confirmed last February just as Kim Jong Un was kicking his dictatorship and just weeks after President Obama was starting his second term.
This troubling development comes at the end of another chippy week between the three countries. Earlier this week, North Korea responded to a United Nations report about torture and forced abductions in the reclusive state by deeming that life in America is a "living hell" and launching into a tirade about income and racial inequality in the United States. Then, on Thursday, South Korea announced it had found some North Korean drones near the border between the two countries, which raised the specter of future attacks by armed drones.
The analysts who were seemingly wrong about the nuclear test are also confident that North Korea is still far away from perfecting the technology needed to build a nuclear arsenal. Let's hope we don't find out.