Satellite images showed a nuclear test site in North Korea that is “primed and ready,’’ a US think tank has said, amid growing concerns over Pyongyang’s nuclear missile programme.
According to the Yonhap News Agency, the images, showed new activity in an administrative area, continued activity at a north portal and people moving around a command centre at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, according to the 38 North website at the US Korea Institute.
Military officials in South Korea, however, said they’ve seen “no unusual’’ signs.
“There has been no unusual activity so far,’’ a Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson said.
Punggye-ri is an underground site in north-east North Korea, where the country has carried out nuclear tests since 2006.
Fresh activity was noted at the site in September, just before North Korea carried out its fifth successful nuclear test.
At a press conference Wednesday, US President Donald Trump praised Beijing for turning off one of North Korea’s only streams of international income, by turning back North Korean coal ships from China this week.
In February, China suspended all coal imports from North Korea until the end of the year.
Analysts said the ban could cripple North Korea’s economy.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she believes a political solution is possible on the Korean peninsula, despite the ongoing sabre-rattling from North Korea.
“I wouldn’t support military actions, but rather, strong political pressure on North Korea from various sides,’’ Merkel told Germany’s Funke media group.
Merkel said North Korea regularly breaches UN resolutions, adding that “it’s in the best interests of the world that North Korea isn’t nuclear armed.’’ (NAN)