Tunneling activities at North Korea's main nuclear test site have been stepped up, a US -based think tank said Thursday, even as the inter-Korean peace talks resumed over the past week.
The last five of Pyongyang's six nuclear tests have been carried out under Mount Mantap at Punggye-ri in the country's north-west, all of them at the North Tunnel.
However, an estimated nine mining carts were seen at the West Portal (Tunnel 4), and there appeared to be new rails on top of the spoil pile, which was seen expanding in size.
Satellite imagery shows "significant tunneling" at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, a report revealed Thursday. The young North Korean despot also ordered the mass production and rapid deployment of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles to bolster the state nuclear force.
The accident is believed to have been caused by Kim Jong-un's last nuclear test which weakened the mountain. The tremors may have even affected nearby Paektu Mountain, a sacred mountain throughout Korean history and a major symbol of the North Korean regime. However, stepped-up tunnelling activities have been detected at the nuclear test site's West Portal.
The North Korean leader claimed that he has a button on his desk to order a nuclear strike against the USA, but for Kim to field a reliable nuclear deterrent against the US and its allies, additional weapons testing will be undoubtedly be required.
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North Korea has stepped up tunnelling at its main nuclear test site, a U.S. think tank said, even as tensions cool on the peninsula following the resumption of long-stalled inter-Korean dialogue.
Elsewhere on 38 North, contributor Alexander Vorontsov, who heads the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that North Korean diplomats were serious about the possibility of war with the US.
"These [North Korea] officials feared that the USA was already trying to shape the battlefield for a military operation against the North, and that South Koreans do not seem to have grasped the reality that the Trump administration is set on a course for preventive war". If the report from 38 North proves to be correct, we may see the conflict between North Korea and the USA reach a whole new level.
He said North Korea was not bluffing and actively preparing for war.
In October, Trump infamously declared that his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was "wasting his time trying to negotiate" with North Korean leaders.
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