Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
Preparation work at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility's Tunnel No. 3 was apparently complete and ready for a possible nuclear test, the Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a report, citing commercial satellite imagery.
North Korea conducted six underground nuclear tests at the site from 2006 to 2017.
The research group said that for the first time, analysts spotted new construction activity at the facility's Tunnel No. 4, "strongly suggesting an effort to re-enable it for potential future testing".
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting. File photo
Outside Tunnel No. 3, images showed a retaining wall and some minor landscaping with small trees or bushes, likely in anticipation of a visit by senior officials, it said.
The two tunnels were never previously used for nuclear tests and their entrances were demolished in 2018, when North Korea declared a self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
Leader Kim Jong Un has said he is no longer bound by that moratorium because of a lack of reciprocal steps by the United States during denuclearisation talks, and North Korea resumed testing ICBMs this year.
South Korean officials said this week that North Korea was poised to conduct a nuclear test "at any time" and that the timing would be decided by Kim.
South Korea's defence ministry spokesman, when asked about the report, said it was closely monitoring developments on North Korea's nuclear activity together with U.S. intelligence authorities but declined to make any further comment.
US and South Korean government authorities and North Korean experts have been saying for weeks that there are signs of new construction at Punggye-ri, North Korea's only known nuclear test site, and that Pyongyang could soon test a bomb.
Xi is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years, after relations between the Cold War era allies deteriorated over Pyongyang's nuclear provocations and Beijing's subsequent backing of UN sanctions.
The launch came after North Korea carried out a military drill and fired multiple projectiles on Saturday, with at least one believed to be a short-range missile.
North Korea is history’s most perfected totalitarian state. Ruled by a deified dynastic dictatorship whose record of crimes against humanity is unparalleled, according to the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, no organized resistance against the regime has been reported. Until now.
While it is customary in the Pacific Coast city for people to stop on the left side of escalators and keeping the right open for those in a hurry, there have been instances of several people losing their balance and knocking others off as well.
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