Satellite imagery detects vehicles at N.K. nuke test site

SEOUL-- Satellite imagery detected several vehicles or trailers at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, a U.S. think tank said Sunday, another indication that Pyongyang may be preparing for its sixth nuclear test.

An article posted on 38 North, a website run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, said that possibly four or five vehicles or trailers were seen at the entrance to the North Portal, the site of North Korea's past four nuclear tests.

"If these vehicles are related to test preparations, they could be involved in the installation of instrumentation or even a nuclear device," Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu said in the article.

However, the evidence is not definitive; therefore, they may be there for other purposes as well, they said.

The imagery also indicated that a pile of construction materials, probably sand and aggregate, located in a nearby storage lot, appears undisturbed compared with previous images.

That material, if it is sand and aggregate, when mixed with concrete, may be intended to plug segments of a tunnel to prevent a nuclear explosion from escaping into the atmosphere, they said.

On Friday, South Korean defense officials said North Korea seems to have finished preparing for another nuclear test, waiting for leader Kim Jong-un's final decision.

News reports said last week that North Korea's sixth nuclear test appeared imminent. Fox News said U.S. officials have detected evidence that North Korea has finished digging new tunnels around its nuclear site in Punggye-ri. But there have been no indications yet of busy activity of vehicles and equipment there.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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