Is Kim planning another nuke test? Satellite images show more activity at North Korea’s testing site

Thursday, January 11, 2018
By Paul Martin

Analysis released by the US-Korea Institute says plant activity is stepped up
It says the activity could be consistent with moves to conduct another test
North Korea has in recent months carried out a series of successful missile tests

11 January 2018

Commercial satellite images from North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site indicate that activity in part of the plant throughout December is consistent with plans for more nuclear testing.

Analysis released by the US-Korea Institute says that while the North Portal of the site – where the last five nuclear tests were conducted – remains dormant, the same cannot be said of the West Portal, where tunnel excavations have been stepped up.

‘Throughout December 2017, mining carts and personnel were consistently present around the West Portal and there was significant expansion of the spoil pile,’ the Institute commented.

It says that on December 28 up to 200 personnel were observed in seven different formations in the Southern Support Area of the plant.

‘These activities underscore North Korea’s continued efforts to maintain the Punggye-ri site’s potential for future nuclear testing.’ the Institute said.

North Korea has in recent months carried out a series of successful missile tests to prove its ability to develop nuclear weapons, each one seemingly more high powered than its predecessor.

It has done so despite severe warnings from the U.S. and without facing any real international retaliation or repercussions except sanctions.

Last week it was alleged that North Korea may have accidentally hit one its own cities with a missile.

Satellite images showed damage caused by a failed test launch that struck Tokchon, a city of 200,000 in the interior of Kim Jong-un’s secretive state, according to a US government official.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Moscow on Thursday that the North Korean leader has shown himself to be a mature leader who is interested in calming down the tensions over its nuclear and long-range missile programmes.

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