Two days after the UN's toothless vote to haul North Korea's leaders into the Hague over human rights violations, Pyongyang is doubling down on its threatened response to the "political provocation." In a statement today, it says that "the United States' hostile acts are leaving us no longer able to refrain from conducting a new nuclear test." (The New York Times notes the North alleges that the US hired "rubber stamps" who pushed the resolution through.) It continued that the North would strengthen its "war deterrent ... infinitely in the face of the United States' plot for armed interference and invasion."
A US-based watchdog, the US-Korea Institute at SAIS, yesterday reported that satellite imagery indicates a 10-week shutdown has occurred at the North's Yongbyon nuclear site—"longer than what is required for routine maintenance" and an indication that Pyongyang could be gearing up to reprocess spent nuclear material. Satellite pictures also captured steam rising at Yongbyon, as well as truck activity. "It would certainly be unfortunate to threaten with that kind of activity in response to the legitimate focus on North Korea's human rights situation by the international community," responded a US State Department rep, as per the BBC. The North has conducted nuclear tests three times between 2006 and 2012. (A North Korean report from September found that North Korea is actually fabulous on human rights.)