Sunday, 25 February, 2018

North Korea Preparing for Another Nuclear Test, Satellite Images Suggest

Punggye-Ri Nuclear Test Site North Korea including the West Portal North Korea Preparing for Another Nuclear Test, Satellite Images Suggest
Bennie Garza | 13 January, 2018, 15:23

The analysis was based on new images of the test site released commercially.

According to experts at the US-based think tank 38North, personnel are rarely observed in this area of the nuclear test site and the objective of the unusual activity remains unknown.

"Throughout December 2017, mining carts and personnel were consistently present around the West Portal and there was significant expansion of the spoil pile", reported 38 North.

While work remains dormant at the "North Portal", which is the site of the past five underground blasts, the satellite images show that excavation work at the "West Portal" has been "stepped up", said 38 North, which is run by Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. It has also slightly expanded in size.

The olive branch led to the first official dialogue between the two Koreas in more than two years, and an agreement for Pyongyang to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in the South.The apparent rapprochement came after months of confrontation, during which Pyongyang carried out multiple missile tests and by far its biggest nuclear detonation to date.

The three recent tremors could have caused damage to the tunnel networks but satellite images cannot confirm this. Aftershocks were detected as late as November.

North Korea has stepped up tunnelling at its main nuclear test site, a United States think tank said, even as tensions cool on the peninsula following the resumption of long-stalled inter-Korean dialogue.

It follows reports in October that the test site is unstable and experienced tunnel collapses that have killed several hundred North Korean laborers.

After visiting Pyongyang, Vorontsov said that tensions were skyhigh and soldiers were on high alert. If the report from 38 North proves to be correct, we may see the conflict between North Korea and the USA reach a whole new level.

The North Korean leader claimed that he has a button on his desk to order a nuclear strike against the USA, but for Kim to field a reliable nuclear deterrent against the US and its allies, additional weapons testing will be undoubtedly be required.

Earlier in January, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

He said North Korea was not bluffing and actively preparing for war.


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