Kim Jong Un Vows 'Substantial' Action

Sabre-rattling continues in Pyongyang as Japan launches new satellites

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 27, 2013 7:49 AM CST

(Newser) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened top security and foreign affairs officials and ordered them to take "substantial and high-profile important state measures," state media said today, fueling speculation that he plans to push forward with a threat to explode a nuclear device in defiance of the United Nations. The meeting of top officials led by Kim underscores Pyongyang's defiant stance in protest of UN Security Council punishment for a December rocket launch.

Kim's order for firm action and the recent series of strong statements indicate he intends to conduct a nuclear test in the near future to show "he is a young yet powerful leader both domestically and internationally," says a North Korea expert. North Korea is estimated to have enough weaponized plutonium for four to eight bombs, and experts say another atomic test could take the country closer to its goal of building a warhead that can be mounted on a missile designed to strike the United States. Also today, Japan launched two intelligence satellites into orbit amid concerns about North Korea's threats. The launch was in the planning stages long before this, but underscores Japan's longstanding wariness of its neighbor's abilities and intentions.

A picture of a North Korean rocket Unha is displayed at a unification observation post in Paju near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.
A picture of a North Korean rocket Unha is displayed at a unification observation post in Paju near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.   (Ahn Young-joon)
South Korean army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence in Paju, South Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.
South Korean army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence in Paju, South Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.   (Ahn Young-joon)
This Jan. 4, 2013 satellite image shows North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test facility. This and other recent satellite photos show North Korea could be almost ready to conduct a nuclear test.
This Jan. 4, 2013 satellite image shows North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test facility. This and other recent satellite photos show North Korea could be almost ready to conduct a nuclear test.   ((AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image))
South Korean army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.
South Korean army soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.   (Ahn Young-joon)
South Korean army soldiers patrol along the barbed wire fence in Paju near the DMZ of Panmunjom, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.
South Korean army soldiers patrol along the barbed wire fence in Paju near the DMZ of Panmunjom, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.   (Ahn Young-joon)
A South Koreans girl looks at the North side through binoculars at a unification observation post in Paju near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.
A South Koreans girl looks at the North side through binoculars at a unification observation post in Paju near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.   (Ahn Young-joon)
In this Sunday, April 15, 2012 file image, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds before giving his first public speech during a massive celebration marking the 100th birthday of Kim Il Sung.
In this Sunday, April 15, 2012 file image, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds before giving his first public speech during a massive celebration marking the 100th birthday of Kim Il Sung.   (Anonymous)
In this undated photo distributed Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting with officials at undisclosed location in North Korea.
In this undated photo distributed Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting with officials at undisclosed location in North Korea.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.
People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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