North Korea Said To Have Placed Nuclear Device In A Tunnel, "Could Be Detonated Saturday Morning"

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In a striking development involving the rapidly changing North Korean geopolitical situation, moments ago Voice of America reporter Steve Herman stated that according to US government and other sources, North Korea has “apparently placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it could be detonated Saturday AM Korea time.”

He then quotes an NSA official who had no comment at this time, but said “we will be watching closely.”

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Herman notes that this could be North Korea’s 6th nuclear test, following previous tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and twice in 2016.

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The VOA reporter also tweeted a 3-D model of North Korea’s nuclear test site with estimated locations of past explosions and notional tunnels.

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Meanwhile, satellite images courtesy of North 38 have revealed “unusually high levels of activity” at Kim Jong-un’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. According to experts, the images could mean a nuclear test is “imminent.” North Korea has conducted five declared and remotely detected underground nuclear tests at its dedicated nuclear test site at Punggye-ri in mountainous terrain in the northeast of the country over the last decade,  

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Figure 1. Activity continues at the North Portal.

The latest images suggest recent activity around the North Portal, which has been used for previous tests with unidentified equipment now at the site.

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Figure 2. Possible new dumping observed at the North Portal spoil pile

Joseph S Bermudez Jr and Jack Liu from North Korea think tank 38 North which monitors the hermit kingdom, said: “Over the past four weeks, there have been unusually high levels of activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, especially around the North Portal—the tunnel in which the four most recent nuclear tests have taken place.

“New commercial satellite imagery from April 2 indicates continued activity in this area and at the Main Administrative Area, while the rest of the facility remains quiet.

“This pattern of activity could mean a sixth nuclear test is imminent, but the imagery does not provide any definitive evidence of the installation of a nuclear device or the exact timing of such a test.”

Image © 2017 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 3. Probable personnel in formation or equipment in rows at the Main Administrative Area.

The increased movement comes as tensions with the US threaten to spill over with a US Navy strike group heading towards the Korean peninsula.

As reported this afternoon, journalists visiting North Korea have have been told to prepare for a “big and important event” on Thursday as Pyongyang marks the 105th birth anniversary of its founding president Kim Il Sung on April 15, North Korea’s biggest national day called “Day of the Sun”.

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