N. Korea's nuclear test site still operational: 38 North
North Korea's nuclear test site appears to be operational contrary to claims that is has been damaged beyond repair, a U.S. website monitoring the reclusive country said Monday.
1 May, 2018
The test grounds in Punggye-ri could support further underground nuclear testing judging from new synthetic aperture radar data, which show the viability of two mountainous areas that can be reached via the South and West Portals, according to 38 North.
"The data also corroborates Kim Jong-un's publicly reported statement that two tunnels of the site remain in good condition," the article said, referring to the North Korean leader. "In short, while Chinese seismological findings that the Mt. Mantap portion of the nuclear test site may no longer (be) suitable for tests due to significant damage and deformation appear correct, claims that the entire site 'is wrecked beyond repair' are wrong."
North Korea last conducted a nuclear test in September, its sixth and most powerful yet.
Of the six tests, five were conducted under Mount Mantap and supported by a tunnel system connected to the North Portal, according to 38 North.
"Commercial satellite imagery has indicated the North Portal seems to have been abandoned since that last test. However, as we have also previously reported, two unused mountainous areas, accessible via the South and West Portals, appear to remain viable in more pristine rock located approximately 2.5 and 3.5 kilometers from Mt. Mantap's peak," it said.
Kim has pledged to close the nuclear test site to demonstrate his sincerity about halting nuclear weapons tests. According to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who met with him last week, Kim also said he would allow South Korean and U.S. experts to witness the shutdown next month.