North Korean Unha-3 rocket launch, Dec 2012
North Korean Unha-3 rocket launch, Dec 2012 Reuters/KCN

As Japan prepares to shut down all of its nuclear reactors, North Korea has announced it will soon launch a third nuclear missile test.

The defiant Southeast Asian nation said Thursday it plans to launch a long-range ballistic missile, which can carry a nuclear warhead, despite a severe warning against the move from the United Nations.

The international body has already imposed a number of economic and other sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to stop Seoul from continuing its headlong rush towards military nuclear development.

But as Iran has done for years, North Korea also has ignored international efforts to impede the progress of its nuclear development activities.

“Our long-range missiles are not only designed to launch satellites into orbit, but to carry nuclear warheads as well,” boasted the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-Un. 

In remarks carried by state media, Korea’s National Defense Commission said the planned launch would be part of an “upcoming all-out action” targeting the United States, “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.” 

The statement came in the wake of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed Tuesday condemning North Korea’s Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket launch putting a satellite into space last month.

 The resolution also expanded existing sanctions against the country. The United States advocated for and supported the resolution.

Sources in the South Korean military warned in December 2012 that North Korea is able to fire missiles with a range of more than 10,000 kilometers – far enough to reach the western coast of the United States. The warning followed a test conducted earlier in the month by North Korea in which a ballistic missile was fired.

On September 6, 2007, Israel destroyed a budding nuclear power plant being constructed in northern Syria with assistance from North Korea.  

Concrete evidence of North Korea’s involvement was provided to the U.S. Congress following the destruction of the facility.