North Korea: Citing satellite imagery, a US-based monitoring group has said that North Korea might be preparing for another nuclear test. The revelation was made by 38 North group, run by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
The group said the images show activity at all three tunnel complexes at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site involving a large vehicle and personnel.
“One possible reason for this activity is to collect data on the September 9 test although other purposes cannot be ruled out, such as sealing the portal or other preparations related to a new test,” the group said, referring to the last nuclear test.
The North is believed to be ready for another nuclear test at any time and there has been speculation it could mark the October 10 anniversary of the founding of its Workers’ Party with another underground detonation.
North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006 and has since then defied UN sanctions and rejected international talks to press ahead with the development of the weapons and missiles to carry them, which it says it needs for its defence.
In January, it conducted its fourth nuclear test and last month its fifth and biggest, on the anniversary of the nation’s founding.
Last month, the North said it had successfully conducted a ground test of a new rocket engine that would be used to launch satellites. South Korea said the engine could be used for a long-range missile.