After threatening new nuclear tests amid heightened sanctions yesterday, North Korea is getting more specific: Those tests will target the US, its "sworn enemy," the country says. "We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States," military leaders said. South Korea says the North is "technically ready" for new nuclear tests, Reuters reports.
Pyongyang ally China has responded to the latest threats, asking North Korea to "remain calm and act and speak in a cautious and prudent way and not take any steps which may further worsen the situation." But "after all these years and numerous rounds of six-party talks, we can see that China's influence over North Korea is actually very limited," says an expert in Shanghai. Pyongyang didn't make clear when such a test could occur, notes the New York Times, but a South Korean army colonel says the North "can conduct a nuclear test as soon as its leadership makes up its mind." One date to keep an eye on: Feb. 16, the late Kim Jong Il's birthday.