Business & Economy

Satellites detect flood damage at North Korean nuclear test center

Seoul, Aug 30 (EFE).- Experts from the United States Center for Strategic and International Studies said Tuesday they had seen damage caused by flooding on the only access road leading to North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test center through satellite photos.

From a series of seven photos taken between Jun. 24 and Wednesday, experts said “flood damage can be seen on the only access road to the facility” due to torrential rains in the last two months.

These damages may have “temporarily restricted mobility” along this road, although there does not appear to be sufficient evidence that the storms have had a significant impact on Punggye-ri’s operational capacity, analysts said in a study published Tuesday on specialized website Beyond parallel.

At the north end of the facilities, the construction of a road of about 740 meters in length has been detected that bypasses the flooded road and connects the command center and the assistance center.

This new bypass “should provide unobstructed access during future flooding,” the analysis adds.

In turn, images from Aug. 24 show there are no significant changes in the so-called Tunnel 3 or south portal, something in accordance with what was said by the US and South Korean intelligence services. They said Pyongyang is ready since spring to carry out in this system of galleries what would be its seventh nuclear test, the first in five years.

The center’s experts said the date to conduct this new test seems to depend exclusively on a direct order from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Satellites began capturing preparations for a new underground atomic detonation in February in Punggye-ri.

North Korea, which has been completely isolated from the outside world due to the pandemic for more than two and a half years, has ignored calls from the US government to resume disarmament dialogue and approved an ambitious five-year weapons modernization plan in 2021.

This program seems to be behind the number of missile tests carried out this year (more than 20) and the preparations for this nuclear test. EFE


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