Yoon says N. Korea is ready to conduct nuclear test at any time

SEOUL– President Yoon Suk-yeol said Friday that North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test at any time it decides.

Yoon was responding to a reporter’s question about the U.S. Department of Defense’s assessment that the North has completed preparations to carry out a nuclear test as early as within the month.

“We believe that not only at the end of this month, but ever since my inauguration, it’s fully ready and able to do it whenever it decides,” he told reporters as he arrived for work.

North Korea has conducted a series of short- to long-range missile tests since Yoon took office in May and has widely been expected to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test.

National Intelligence Service Director Kim Kyou-hyun made an unannounced visit to Washington earlier this week, spurring speculation he would meet with top U.S. intelligence officials to coordinate their response to a possible North Korean provocation.

Yoon was asked about the possibility of granting presidential amnesty to former President Lee Myung-bak, who is jailed for corruption, on the occasion of Aug. 15 Liberation Day.

“In all state affairs, shouldn’t everything be considered together in terms of what the people think of certain goals, Constitutional values, and such?” he replied. “If we look only at public sentiment, it could lead to a decision tilted toward the present. We plan to go in a future-oriented direction while carefully considering the current public sentiment.”

Yoon also defended his administration’s new tax reform proposal, which centers on cutting corporate and income taxes.

“The corporate tax is aimed at meeting international standards and strengthening our businesses’ external competitiveness, while revitalizing investment,” he said.

The income tax adjustment, he said, is aimed at reducing the tax burden on the middle class and ordinary people.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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