North Korea may be preparing another nuclear test – Forward Observer Shop

North Korea may be preparing another nuclear test

The North Koreans appear to be making preparations for yet another nuclear test, according to U.S. and South Korean intelligence officials and experts.

In a joint analysis released earlier this month, Frank Pabian, Joseph Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu, citing satellite imagery, said there has been a “consistently high level of activity” at North Korea’s main nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.

The analysis was released by 38 North, a U.S. website specializing in North Korea-related issues.

The experts said they had detected activity at the West Portal, which leads to an unused tunnel complex, not the North Portal, site of five of the last six nuclear tests.

“Despite the continuation of small tremors near Mt. Mantap since North Korea’s last nuclear test, tunnel work at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site is still underway,” they said. “These efforts continue to be concentrated at the West Portal, leaving the North Portal…mostly dormant and likely abandoned, at least for the time being. At the West Portal, there has been a consistently high level of activity since North Korea’s last nuclear test,” they said.

Activity includes routine vehicle traffic but also signs of excavation, which would indicate the North Koreans are expanding the site’s “potential for future nuclear testing”, according to the experts. [source]

(Analyst comment: Just a quick observation; another nuclear test will bring the Trump administration and more members of Congress ever closer to striking Pyongyang, as it will further convince lawmakers and other champions of diplomacy that Kim Jong-un has his mind set on a nuclear capability.)

Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 2:  What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints? To subscribe to one of our threat intelligence newsletters: Click here.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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