North Korea 'may be able to launch sarin attack'

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to reporters at his official residence in Tokyo, on April 5, 2017.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to reporters at his official residence in Tokyo, on April 5, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO • North Korea may be able to launch a warhead loaded with sarin nerve gas, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday, as satellite images suggest it might be on the verge of conducting its sixth nuclear test.

"There is a possibility that North Korea is already capable of delivering (via missile) a warhead containing sarin," Mr Abe told a parliamentary diplomacy and defence committee. A senior Japanese official also said it is likely to already possess a considerable number of such weapons.

Satellite images have shown increased activity at a nuclear test site, suggesting North Korea is ready for a test, said analysts. They said it might detonate a nuclear weapon tomorrow to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of founder Kim Il Sung, grandfather of leader Kim Jong Un.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline 'North Korea 'may be able to launch sarin attack''. Print Edition | Subscribe