Asia Briefs: N. Korea 'likely to hold new nuke test'

N. Korea 'likely to hold new nuke test'

SEOUL • North Korea is likely to conduct its fifth nuclear test in the near future, possibly before its Workers' Party congress early next month, where leader Kim Jong Un is expected to boast about his achievements in building a weapons programme, according to South Korean government sources.

"Compared to last month, the frequency of vehicle, workforce and equipment movements increased two to threefold recently," Yonhap News Agency said, quoting multiple government sourceswho have been monitoring activities around the test site. The test, if it happens, follows a nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February, which led to United Nations sanctions that failed to halt Pyongyang's weapons programmes.


Drills for Chinese fleets in S. China Sea

BEIJING • China's South China Sea fleets have conducted training drills with upgraded methods that resemble actual combat conditions to increase the fleets' combat effectiveness. This is according to an article published by the People's Liberation Army Daily yesterday. The drills, which began on April 7, included training within an electromagnetic environment. The fleets will further explore 24-hour maritime attack drills, minimum altitude defensive dashes and other military tactics, the article added. They will work with other branches of the military on early aerial warning systems, surface ships and ground anti-aircraft defence.


Japanese unit to patrol disputed islands

ISHIGAKI (Japan) • The Japan Coast Guard has established a special unit with 12 large ships to patrol the country's territorial waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa, The Japan Times reported. The unit belongs to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

The Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan but they are also claimed by China and Taiwan. They are known as Diaoyu in China and Diaoyutai in Taiwan.

The special unit will enable the coast guard to step up patrols in Japan's territorial waters against repeated intrusions by Chinese ships.

Chinese man extradited from HK to US

HONG KONG • A Chinese national arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly murdering his two teenage nephews in California was extradited to the United States last Friday, the city police said yesterday. Both teens had suffered blunt-force trauma, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Shi Deyun, 44, was detained at Hong Kong's international airport in January after arriving on a flight from Los Angeles.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2016, with the headline 'Asia Briefs: N. Korea 'likely to hold new nuke test''. Subscribe