In other news.
PROSPECTS among PUNDITS with regard to the TIMING of a PENDING nuclear test by North Korea appear MIXED.
The HEAD of the UN ATOMIC agency believes Pyeongyang is poised to conduct a nuclear test in the near future BUT observers here are not so sure.
Our Unification Ministry Correspondent HAN SEONG-WOO explains.
According to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, North Korea is now ready to conduct its seventh nuclear test at a time of its choosing.
In a lecture Tuesday at Australian National University in Canberra, Director-General Rafael Grossi lamented how the regime has grown into the nuclear threat it is today despite not possessing weapons until 2006, and he called that fact a "big collective failure."
"Despite international efforts to denuclearize North Korea, Pyeongyang's nuclear capablilites and missile threats have only escalated. I think he's criticizing North Korea policies of the past "
Citing satellite imagery, Grossi said a nuclear test could happen "any day" but stressed that the IAEA is keeping a close watch on the regime from outside its borders.
South Korean analysts, however, don't predict a nuclear test until Pyeongyang has a better idea of what it stands to gain and lose from it.
"Even if the North waits until the monsoon's over, will it be able to conduct the test in September or October? Well, Pyeongyang will have to consider how China will respond. China's getting ready to hold its National Congress in November, a massive event extremely important to Xi Jinping, so it won't be easy for North Korea, a neighboring country, to do it then."
"North Korea doesn't have much to gain from a nuclear test in the current circumstances. Due to the North's recent missile provocations, the United States has reinforced its military presence around the Korean Peninsula. South Korea, the U.S. and Japan are strengthening their trilateral relations as well."
Taking into account the fact, as Director-General Grossi noted, that the IAEA's not been in North Korea for the last thirteen years, both experts say there's not much the IAEA or other international organizations can do .
Still, Director Hong Min of the North Korea Research Division at the Korea Institute for National Unification says future denuclearization strategies need to give assurances of mutual security to both North Korea and the international community.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.