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N. Korea military meeting hints at nuclear test

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has chaired a high-level meeting that discussed a “great turn” in military capability, state media said Sunday, fueling expectations of an imminent nuclear test.

Kim made a “historic” speech at the ruling party's Central Military Commission meeting, attended by the heads of the army, the National Defense Commission and the strategic rocket force, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

The meeting discussed “bringing about a great turn in bolstering military capability,” said KCNA, which gave no date for the meeting or details of Kim's speech.

Experts and intelligence sources believe the country has completed preparations for a third nuclear test which it threatened in response to tightened U.N. sanctions imposed for a long-range rocket launch last December.

Over the past week Pyongyang has issued a series of daily warnings threatening action over the sanctions, including a promise Saturday of the “toughest retaliation.”

Several observers in South Korea believe the nuclear test will come before Lunar New Year starts on Feb. 10.

In his “important” speech to the military commission, Kim Jong Un issued specific guidelines for “defending the security and sovereignty of the country,” KCNA said.

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 NKorea issues guidelines on strengthening military 
This undated photo released by North Korea's official news agency via the Korean News Service on Saturday, Feb. 2 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, waving during the fourth Conference of Cell Secretaries of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang.

(AFP)

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