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New satellite images show North Korea ready for another nuclear test

In photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un stands on the conning tower of a submarine during his inspection of the KPA Naval Unit 167. Photograph: (Reuters)

Agencia EFE Seoul, South Korea Apr 13, 2017, 08.23 AM (IST)

Satellite photos show North Korea's nuclear base prepared and ready for a new test, something that would add to the rising tension in the peninsula, according to specialist website 38North dedicated to North Korea Thursday.

The photos of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site taken on Wednesday and analyzed Thursday show continued activity around the North Portal (where earlier tests were conducted), new activity in the Main Administrative Area, and a few personnel around the site's Command Center.

The analysis indicates that the volume of water that has been drained during the past weeks to keep the north gallery tunnel dry, has reduced in the last 10 days.

No changes were observed in the spoil pile, so the excavation process might already be complete at the base located in Kilju County (Northeast).

Experts have warned of continued activity in Punggye-ri for weeks and fear North Korea may soon carry out its sixth nuclear test, especially as important events are approaching with the country celebrating the fifth anniversary of Kim Jong-un's transition to power.

In addition, the hermit state will also commemorate the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il-sung, on Saturday and the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army on April 25.

These celebrations coincide with increased tension in the peninsula after the United States responded to the most recent North Korean missile launch by sending a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the peninsula.

Following the US President Donald Trump's arrival at the White House in January, Washington said it would change its strategy to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The US' recent offensive with cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase, apparently intended to warn Pyongyang, and Washington's reference of studying the prospect of a preemptive strike on North Korea also added to the mounting tension.

Trump again urged his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, during a telephone conversation on Wednesday to increase the pressure on the Stalinist regime, so that the US does not have to resort to making tough decisions in this regard.


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