Satellite images show fresh activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site

Seoul, Apr 29 (EFE).- Satellite images taken earlier this week and analyzed by United States-based Center for Strategic and International Studies have revealed significant activity at North Korea’s nuclear test facility, suggesting that “preparations are well underway” for another nuclear test by the regime.

An image taken on Apr. 25 “provides one of the most detailed and current views of continued activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility,” said the report, published on CSIS’ specialized portal Beyond Parallel.

“Construction of new buildings, movement of lumber, and an increase in equipment and supplies immediately outside the new entrance to Tunnel No. 3 indicates that construction work is ongoing both inside Tunnel No. 3 and outside in the nearby areas,” it added.

The entrances to tunnels number 3 (also known as the south portal), 2 and 4 (north and west portals) had been destroyed by the regime as a gesture to facilitate dialog with the United States when the diplomatic talks began in 2018.

After the dialog was stalled following the failed denuclearization summit in Hanoi in 2019, since February this year satellites have detected growing activity around the tunnel 3 at Punggye-ri, with a new entrance being dug out.

“Changes to the size of the piles of stored lumber (used to prop up the tunnels) suggest construction work is ongoing inside Tunnel No. 3 and the main administrative and support area (situated north of the tunnel),” the study explained.

The photos also show operators playing volleyball during a break outside the administrative area, an activity also carried out in 2017 during preparations for the seventh nuclear test.

North Korea has so far not carried out a nuclear test within tunnels 3 and 4, as the six previous tests took place in the tunnels complex of tunnel 1 – where the first test was carried out in 2006 – and tunnel 2, where the other five tests were completed.

The report concluded that “although some sources suggest the seventh nuclear test could occur between May and September of this year, the date of a seventh nuclear test will undoubtedly depend exclusively upon the personal decision of Kim Jong-un.” EFE


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