The South Korean Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported on the imposition of martial law on North Korea on January 31 with reference to an unidentified source.
According to the KCNA, the recently held conference of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with the chiefs of the country’ security services focused on the situation around the Korean Peninsula following the adoption by the UN Security Council of resolutions expanding the existing sanctions against North Korea.
Pyongyang has made efforts to prove that the satellite launch is peaceful in character, but forces under the United States have denied the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea the right to space exploration for peaceful purposes, the news agency says in a statement.
Pyongyang pledged powerful physical countermeasures to defend the country’s sovereignty. But the news agency chose not to specify the nature of these measures.
Moscow hasn't confirmed that North Korea has already planted the nuclear bomb as part of its anticipated nuke test, a Russian diplomat said.
“A number of countries and international non-proliferation organizations have been warning that the test facility has been put on standby [ahead of the nuclear test],” Russia’s nuclear envoy Grigory Logvinov said.
“We have no actual proof that the charge has been planted. I doubt that anyone, apart from North Koreans, can know this for sure,” he added.
Russia has voiced concern over escalating military presence throughout the Asia Pacific region under the pretext of halting the rise of North Korean nuclear threat.
“We are against using North Korea’s alleged missile and nuclear threat as a pretext for deploying excessive troops and weapons [in the region],” a source with the Russian foreign ministry said Friday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered preparations for the planned nuclear test to come to a conclusion and imposed martial law in the country, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper has cited an unnamed South Korean source as saying Thursday.
According to the source, the test may be carried out earlier than expected. Some experts name February 16, the birthday of Kim Jong-il, or the inauguration of South Korea’s president-elect Park Chung-hee on January 25 as a possible launch date.
South Korea has announced that it has set up a situation room to keep a close watch on North Korea’s preparations for a nuclear test.
The situation room was put forth by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to watch for any underground nuclear testing by Pyongyang.
The Korean military said they had been forced to take this measure due to growing threats from North’s nuclear tests.
They said the North was almost ready for a test launch and might be able to do it at short notice.
North Korea has renewed its threat to carry out a third nuclear test in its latest warning sparked by a tightening of UN sanctions, saying it is the "demand of the people."
The comments on Saturday come a day after Pyongyang said the sanctions adopted earlier this week amounted to a "declaration of war", threatening the South with unspecified "physical counter-measures".
"A nuclear test is the demand of the people," said the Rodong Sinmun, the official daily newspaper of the ruling communist party in a signed commentary titled "We have no other option".
"The people's demand is that we must do something even greater than a nuclear test. The United Nations Security Council has left us with no other options," it said.
The current upsurge in tensions has its roots in Pyongyang's defiant decision to push ahead with a long-range rocket launch on December 12 - insisting it was a peaceful mission to place a satellite in orbit.
The rest of the world saw it as a banned ballistic missile test and on Tuesday the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that expanded the number of North Korean entities on an international blacklist.
The United States, supported by Japan and South Korea, spearheaded the UN resolution.
US scientists at Johns Hopkins University have published a satellite imager of North Korea’s nuclear test site shot in November and December 2012.
The picture shows an entrance to a bunker and a test pit.
Pyongyang has warned of ‘physical countermeasures’ against South Korea if they participate in the UN sanctions against the North. Tensions are simmering on the peninsula after North Korea announced a third military test ‘targeting’ the US.
"If the South Korean puppet regime of traitors directly participates in the so-called UN sanctions, strong physical countermeasures will be taken," the North's Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said.
North Korea’s top military organization said that the tightening of sanctions was tantamount to a “declaration of war.”
"As long as the South Korean puppet traitors' regime continues with its anti-DPRK [North Korea] hostile policy, we will never sit down with them," it said.
The threat follows North Korea’s announcement that it will conduct a third nuclear test with a view to targeting to the US. Pyongyang defiantly stated that it was prepared to embark on a “fully-fledged confrontation'' against its “arch enemy” America on Thursday.
China and the US wasted no time in reacting to North Korea’s warmongering rhetoric, condemning the threats as “needlessly provocative.”
EU chief diplomacy Catherine Ashton has urged North Korea to cease provocative actions and adopt a more constructive political line in negotiating with the international community.
North Korea’s central news agency on Thursday published a statement of the National Defense Commission, voicing the intention to continue rocket launches, and conduct "high-level nuclear tests" against "the sworn enemy of their people - the U.S.”
A day earlier, Pyongyang responded to new United Nations sanctions against the country that were prompted by last month's rocket launch, saying it would augment its military potential and develop the nuclear program, rejecting negotiations on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Voice of Russia, RIA, RT, Interfax, ABC, TASS