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Satellite imagery shows fresh activity at N. Korea's nuclear test site: 38 North

All Headlines 06:54 September 09, 2016

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) -- Recent satellite imagery shows fresh activity at North Korea's nuclear test site, suggesting that excavation and maintenance operations are under way, a U.S. website monitoring the communist nation said Thursday.

Satellite imagery taken on Aug. 27 of the North's Punggye-ri underground nuclear test site shows a small number of mining carts at the north portal where the country's fourth nuclear test took place, while new tracks for mining carts have been laid at the west portal, according to 38 North.

The imagery also showed the continued presence of a 6-by-9-meter net canopy, which was erected immediately south of the support building at the North Portal a few weeks earlier in an attempt to obscure the presence of equipment or activity, 38 North said.

Also seen were a number of small crates or pieces of equipment at the south portal, it said.

"Overall, this activity indicates that maintenance and minor excavation operations have resumed at Punggye-ri. However, it is unclear if this activity is directly related to preparations for a fifth nuclear test," 38 North said.

Concerns have persisted that Pyongyang might undertake additional provocations, including a fifth nuclear test, after the U.S. imposed unprecedented sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in July for his role in the country's human rights violations.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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