North Korea 'may be preparing nuclear bomb test'

WASHINGTON - North Korea may be preparing an underground test for a nuclear bomb, ABC News said today, citing unidentified US officials.

It quoted a senior military official as saying a US intelligence agency had recently observed "suspicious vehicle movement" at a suspected North Korean test site.

A senior State Department official told the network, "It is the view of the intelligence community that a test is a real possibility."

Asked about the report, a senior US official told Reuters: "We have no new evidence to support that."

ABC reported the activity at the suspected test site included the unloading of large reels of cable outside an underground facility called Pungyee-yok in northeast North Korea.

It said cables can be used in nuclear testing to connect an underground test site to outside observation equipment. The intelligence was brought to the attention of the White House last week, the report said.

Fears about North Korea's nuclear ambitions were exacerbated when Pyongyang defied international warnings and fired seven missiles into waters east of the Korean peninsula on July 5.

North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in February 2005 without testing. Talks on ending its nuclear program among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have been stalled since November.

- REUTERS

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