There's a significant amount of tunneling activity at North Korea's nuclear testing site, commercial satellite images show, suggesting the area is being prepped for a future nuclear test, according to a report from 38 North, a website dedicated to analyzing the rogue state.
It said throughout December 2017, there were "mining carts and personnel" as well as what appeared to be a "spoil pile" that had been greatly expanded at the test facility's west portal.
The latest pictures indicated the North Tunnel was "dormant" with water draining from its entrance, but that "tunnel excavation has been stepped up at the West Portal". Nikki Haley signaled that North Korea might be preparing for another missile test.
The images were taken in December, shortly before North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un gave a New Year speech warning US President Donald Trump of a "nuclear button" on his desk, while also offering to hold talks with Seoul.
The three recent tremors could have caused damage to the tunnel networks but satellite images cannot confirm this.
Japan's TV Asahi reported that 100 workers were killed in the North Portal's collapse following the test. Cave-ins and nuclear contamination are also feared at the site.
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Based on a trip to Pyongyang, Vorontsov said the atmosphere there was unstable and that the soldiers were "long been sleeping without removing their boots". However, Pyongyang is extremely serious about this scenario and is not bluffing when it says that "only one question remains: when will war break out?" he wrote.
While military tensions have shown no signs of breaking, with the U.S. ordering three nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers to the Pacific territory of Guam on Thursday, both sides have proven more amenable to the notion of peace talks in 2018.
Earlier in January, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
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.
In October, Trump infamously declared that his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was "wasting his time trying to negotiate" with North Korean leaders.