Is Kim Jong-un really dismantling his nuclear test site… or is he just hiding evidence? North Korea could be taking down facilities to hide their capabilities, expert warns

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
By Paul Martin

North Korea has begun dismantling its only known nuclear testing site
Satellite imagery shows support buildings and railways being demolished
Move hailed as first step toward denuclearisation, but experts urge caution
Dictator could be hiding evidence of nuclear capabilities, professor says

16 May 2018

North Korea seemed to have taken the first step toward denuclearisation this week as satellite images emerged showing its largest nuclear test site being dismantled.

But now experts have warned that, far from moving toward peace, Kim Jong-un could actually be trying to hide evidence about his nuclear capabilities.

Suh Kune-yull, professor of nuclear energy system engineering at Seoul National University, warned that the absence of outside inspectors at the site raises the possibility of a cover-up.

He said: ‘North Korea might seem like they’re being generous in holding this event, but this is the actual testing ground we’re talking about here – the smoking gun.

‘It seems like they’re trying to erase any evidence of the nuclear capabilities they have.’

Scott LaFoy, an open source imagery analyst, agreed that the apparent dismantlement of Punggye-ri raises some ‘red flags’ but said the North’s activities are not necessarily ‘nefarious’.

Instead, he worries that North Korea’s activities around the testing site could be easily undone.

‘That imagery tells us the site appears to be in the process of decommissioning,’ he said.

‘But we can’t yet tell if it is going to be closed for years or something that can ultimately be reversed in a few weeks or months.’

The warnings came as North Korea threatened to pull out of the historic summit between Kim Jong-un and President Trump.

The hermit state launched a blistering attack on National Security Adviser John Bolton for his suggestion that Libya could be used as a model for North Korean disarmament, calling him ‘repugnant’.

The North also took issue with joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, saying they violated the peace accord signed in Panmunjom.

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