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Ready, set, agonize: Five signs of an impending nuclear test from North Korea.
That's right: Just to add to world paranoia, all signs point to a fresh nuclear test from North Korea. The watchword here is "imminent," as South Korea's ambassador to the United Nations recently warned, raising the alarm that Pyongyang may indeed be taking its nuclear experiments to a “higher level," as threatened.
Coming to that conclusion is not, as they say, rocket science. Here are 5 giveaway signs that the isolationist communist country is up to something:
1) THEY ISSUED A TEASER VIDEO. Much like the teaser ads in the runup to the Super Bowl, North Korea just issued an official video threatening to make good on its already-threatened nuclear test, complete with footage glorifying a missile attack on the US. In the video, posted Sunday on the state's official YouTube stream, a man envisions New York buildings hit by streams of prismatic North Korean missile fire. (Forbes pointed out that some of the special effects seem pulled straight from Call of Duty — see the video game scene alongside North Korea's footage here.)
2) SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY DETECTED. Google Street View in North Korea? How about the bext best thing: Satellite photos posted Monday show activity near several of the underground tunnels North Korea used in previous nuclear testing. This is highly suggestive imagery, according to analysts David Albright and Robert Avagyan in a statement posted to the Institute for Science and International Security website.
3) PEOPLE IN THE KNOW SAY SO. "Everything we can see indicates North Korea is technically ready to test with little notice," according to Siegfried S. Hecker, who toured North Korea's nuclear complex two years ago and says he suspects they were working on a secret centrifuge facility at the time. "When to test is now largely a political decision," he wrote Monday in Foreign Policy.
4) NORTH KOREA ANTSY, SOUTH KOREA ANXIOUS. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced rare "important" guidelines at a top government meeting on Sunday, said BBC News, a probable indicator of an unusual agenda. South Korea's UN envoy, meanwhile, on Tuesday warned of "very busy activities" at North Korean test sites and said "everybody's watching," according to the Associated Press.
5) THE STARS ARE ALIGNED, says Geoffrey Cain, GlobalPost's senior correspondent in Seoul:
"Knowing how the regime places huge importance on dates, numbers, and superstition, the secret date is most likely on or before February 10, which marks the Lunar New Year for Koreans."
North Korea in January vowed a third, more sophisticated nuclear test after being saddled with fresh international sanctions over its defiant December satellite launch.