No preparations for another underground nuclear explosion are apparent at North Korea’s testing grounds, according to a new image analysis by 38 North.
“Recent commercial satellite imagery indicates that Pyongyang has no plans to conduct a nuclear test over the next few months,” writes Jack Liu, an analyst with the website that specializes in North Korean military affairs.
Comparatively, when Pyongyang conducted its third underground atomic detonation in February, dedicated provisions for the event had been under way since early December 2012.
Some in South Korea have speculated that the Kim Jong Un regime might decide to carry out a fourth nuclear explosion as a way to distract domestic audiences from the recent purges and executions that have shaken the foundations of the North Korean ruling elite.
The latest analysis by 38 North concluded that while digging work on a likely new test tunnel at Punggye-ri has restarted, “completion of that tunnel may take some time.”
However, North Korea already has two finished tunnels that could be used to house nuclear tests when a political decision is made to do so, according to the report.
Meanwhile, it appears that the recent execution of Jang Song Thaek — Kim Jong Un’s onetime mentor and uncle — stemmed from his attempt to assume control over the nation’s mining industry, Agence France-Presse reported on Monday.
“Jang intervened too much in lucrative state businesses …. related to coal, which drew mounting complaints from other [related] state bodies,” said South Korean lawmaker Jung Chung-rae, who is a member of parliament’s intelligence committee. Jung was relating remarks given by National Intelligence Service chief Nam Jae-joon at a private briefing.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."