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Based on Images Think Tank says North Korea may be Preparing for 5ht Nuclear Test

Based on Images Think Tank says North Korea may be Preparing for 5ht Nuclear Test
Judging by commercial satellite images of the country's nuclear test site taken on May 5, a U.S. think tank said that North Korea may be preparing to carry out a fifth nuclear test in the near future.
The images showed vehicle movement at the site "not often seen there except during preparations for a test", said the 38 North website, run by Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
The congress of the ruling Workers' Party is now underway in Norht korea and there have been long standing and intense speculation that communist North Korea may conduct its fifth test of a nuclear device during this period of the congress.  The imagery of the Punggye-ri test site "suggests that Pyongyang may be preparing for a nuclear test in the near future", said the analysis from 38 North.
The vehicles had been spotted at what was believed to be the Command Center, some 6 km (almost four miles) south of the main site, the 38 North website said and added however that the images continued to show low levels of activity.
A call for North Korea "to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further destabilize the region" and stick to past commitments to denuclearize was repeated by a senior U.S. official when he was asked about the 38 North report.
"Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad. We are prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation," he added.
North Korea may have resumed tunneling at Punggye-ri, activity similar to that seen before the country's most recent nuclear test in January reported the 38 North website last month based on satellite images that were accessed by it. Satellite photographs from the two previous months indicated North Korea was digging a new tunnel for nuclear testing, the website reported in early December.
In spite of stepped-up international sanctions after its previous test and a subsequent space rocket launch seen as a cover for development of its intercontinental ballistic missile program, North Korea has vowed to conduct more nuclear testing.
The recent nuclear test and launch of a satellite was hailed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday as he opened the first congress of the country's ruling Workers' Party in 36 years.


Christopher J. Mitchell

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