WASHINGTON, July 11 (Korea Bizwire) – North Korea is showing “high-level activity” at its nuclear test site, the 38 North website monitoring the communist nation said Monday.
Commercial satellite imagery taken on July 7 of the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site shows what appears to be supplies and/or equipment stacked on the ground at the site’s North Portal, where the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, 38 North said.
In addition, a small vehicle is present at the support building immediately to the south of the portal and several mine ore carts may also be present southeast of the portal, suggesting the tunnel is being actively worked, 38 North said.
“Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates a high-level of activity at North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, specifically at the North Portal area where the DPRK conducted its 2013 and 2016 nuclear tests,” 38 North said in a report.
“Based on imagery alone, it is not possible to determine whether this activity is for maintenance, excavation or preparation for a fifth nuclear test. Nevertheless, it is clear that North Korea is ensuring that the facility is in a state of readiness that would allow the conduct of future nuclear tests should the order come from Pyongyang,” it said.
Concerns have flared anew recently that Pyongyang might undertake additional provocations after the U.S. imposed unprecedented sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last week for his role in the country’s human rights violations.