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Signs of reconstruction captured at Punggye-ri nuclear test site

Signs of reconstruction captured at Punggye-ri nuclear test site

Posted March. 09, 2022 07:40,   

Updated March. 09, 2022 07:40


New signs of reconstruction have been recently spotted at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear testing site. The Punggye-ri nuclear test site was dismantled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in May 2018 as a first major step toward denuclearization. South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly spotted the movement of troops and equipment near the Sunan area in Pyongyang, which appears to be preparations to launch additional missiles.

There are speculations that North Korea could carry out a major provocation immediately after South Korea’s presidential election as it hinted at scrapping its moratorium on testing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor and nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said that images captured on Monday (local time) by satellite imaging firm Maxar Technologies showed traces of construction at the Punggye-ri site. A comparison between the images images captured on Feb, 18 and March 4 showed signs of construction and repair of facilities, such as lumber and sawdust.

The South Korean government has been continuously monitoring the movement of manpower and equipment in the Punggye-ri area since the end of last year, according to The Dong-A Ilbo’s coverage on Tuesday. A government official said there is a possibility that the activity is for show aimed at catching the attention of South Korea and the U.S.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com