There is a strong possibility that North Korea will conduct a new nuclear test in May, told an Executive Director of the Institute of International Relations at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Liu Ming.

“In April, North Korea launched several missiles but they all failed,” he said. “There was no nuclear test in April but it does not mean that North Korea will not conduct one in May. I believe there is a strong possibility that the country will hold the next nuclear test this month,” the Chinese expert noted saying that these plans were the main reason for the current tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“According to my estimates, tensions on the Korean Peninsula will remain in May and June for Pyongyang is highly likely to conduct another nuclear test during this period,” Professor Liu Ming pointed out. He added that “North Korea is playing for time choosing the right moment, because all the preparations for the sixth nuclear test have been completed.”

The Chinese expert also expressed his opinion on the possible consequences of a new nuclear test. “I think, after the sixth nuclear test, the window of possibilities to solve the North Korea issue will almost completely close. Only a few chances will remain to solve the issue using diplomatic methods,” Professor Liu Ming said. He noted that “if Pyongyang conducts another nuclear test, then China will have to reduce its economic aid to North Korea.”

“Of course, it will affect bilateral trade. As far as the United States, South Korea and Japan are concerned, they will insist on tightening sanctions through the United Nations Security Council. Washington will also demand that other countries sever diplomatic relations with North Korea,” the Chinese expert added.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula began to grow in early 2016 when North Korea conducted a nuclear test and after that launched a ballistic missile carrying a satellite. In September 2016, Pyongyang carried out another nuclear test, while more than 20 missiles were test-fired during the year.

In April 2017, North Korea carried out several missile tests the latest of which took place on April 28, only a few hours after the United Nations Security Council had held a meeting to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Meanwhile, in early March, the media reported that North Korea was making preparations for the sixth nuclear test.

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