11:41 GMT08 July 2020
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    While Washington has raised the alarm over the possibility of North Korea's sixth nuclear test, warning Pyongyang that it will be attacked should the alleged test take place. Speaking to Sputnik, Chinese expert Lu Chao threw speculation over North Korea's preparations for testing nuclear weapons into doubt.

    Tensions continue to increase in East Asia with Pyongyang announcing Friday that it will launch a "preemptive strike" in case of any US "political, economic or military provocation."

    "All political, economic and military provocative schemes will be decisively disrupted by a super-powerful response from our army and people," a representative of the North Korean General Staff stated as quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

    Earlier in the day US officials told NBC News that Washington is ready to use conventional weapons against North Korea in the event of Pyongyang's conducting a new nuclear test.

    According to the media outlet the US has positioned two destroyers equipped with Tomahawk missiles in the region.

    On Wednesday North Korean monitoring service 38 North reported that "commercial satellite imagery of North Korea's Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from April 12 shows continued activity."

    The website assumed that the developments could indicate Pyongyang's final preparations to a sixth nuclear weapons test.

    The US mainstream media immediately started circulating the report saying that Pyongyang is likely to "engage in some form of provocation" including a sixth nuclear test on April 15, when the country celebrates the birthday of its founding father Kim Il-sung.

    To add to the growing controversy Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested Thursday that North Korea "may already have the capability to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve agent," according to CNN.

    While the situation is seemingly becoming dire, expert Lu Chao of the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences throws the assumption regarding the upcoming nuclear test in North Korea into doubt.

    The expert argues that since the beginning of 2017 Pyongyang has not signaled its readiness to carry out such a test.

    "One cannot be sure about the possibility of nuclear tests [in North Korea] relying only on the images obtained by American satellites from the Punggye-ri test site. Previously US satellites also registered activity at the test site, however, nothing happened [following these reports]. Given this, one can't regard [the activity] as solid proof that the test will actually take place," Lu told Sputnik China.

    The Chinese expert believes that by claiming that Pyongyang is one step away from carrying out a nuclear test the US is pursuing its own goals.

    "If the Democratic People's Republic of Korea conducts a nuclear test, the US will say that they warned North Korea against it. If nothing happens, the US will say that their warning 'worked.' It doesn't matter how North Korea will behave — in any event the US has already gained 'PR leadership' on the issue," Lu said.

    Lu called attention to the fact that Pyongyang has invited at least 200 foreign journalists to visit North Korea during the country's national holiday — an unusual move if Pyongyang is really intends to carry out a nuclear test. He added that the country's nuclear weapons tests have always been shrouded in secrecy.

    "If the DPRK really wants to show its strength, it will, perhaps, demonstrate to the West that they have a long-range ballistic missile during the military parade on April 15," Lu told Sputnik.

    "I think that it's most probable that there will be a military parade in North Korea on April 15, with the demonstration of [the DPRK's] weapons. I estimate that the possibility of a new nuclear test [in North Korea] is less than 30 percent," the Chinese expert stressed.


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    nuclear arms, nuclear test, nuclear, Shinzo Abe, Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), China, Syria, United States, Korean Peninsula
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