Activity spotted around N. Korea’s nuclear test site, think tank says
Recent movements at North Korea’s underground nuclear-test site could indicate preparations for another blast, a Washington-based think tank says.
Satellite images taken Oct. 1 at Punggye-ri in the communist country’s remote northeast show “continuing activity” at all three of the complex’s test tunnels, according to an analysis by 38 North, a website run by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies that monitors North Korean activities.
Activity at the north portal, where the North’s fifth and most recent nuclear test took place on Sept. 9, could be for a number of purposes, including “collecting post-test data, sealing the portal or preparing for another test.”
The images show a large vehicle, possibly a truck, near the portal’s entrance, and a large canopy in a nearby parking lot that has been in place for the past couple of months.
“There is no evidence of new excavation but there appear to be boxes or material around the side of the main building,” 38 North said.
At the south portal, where excavation stopped in 2012, images show a group of people standing near a tunnel entrance, indicating ongoing work or maintenance.
“The purpose of this activity is also unclear although the portal is assumed to be capable of supporting a nuclear test once a decision is made to move forward,” the report said.
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