North Korea Images Show No Sign of Test Prep at Nuclear Site

The sun rises over the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, which spans the Yalu River and leads into North Korea at the Chinese border town of Dandong, as seen on Dec. 15. A satellite-image analyst says he has not detected any new North Korean preparations for a nuclear test blast.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Rachel Oswald
Dec. 22, 2013, 11:22 p.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
NOT WORRIED ABOUT BUDGET NEUTRALITY
Trump Wants to Slash Corporate Rate to 15%
33 minutes ago
THE LATEST
PROMISES “MASSIVE” CUTS
Trump Tax Reform Package Coming Next Week
33 minutes ago
THE LATEST

President Trump today said he'll be releasing his tax reformpacakge next week around the 100-day mark of his presidency. He promised that "businesses and individuals will receive a 'massive tax cut ... bigger I believe than any tax cut ever."

Source:
ONLY BROAD PRINCIPLES
Mulvaney: Tax Reform Details Won’t Be Released This Week
34 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."

Source:
OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS
Trump To Sign Order Calling For Expanded Drilling
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Donald Trump is expected Monday to sign an executive order which will mark his administration's first action on offshore oil and gas drilling. The order is expected to call for a "review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing offshore oil and gas exploration."

Source:
DOMESTIC PRIORITIES
Pence Cuts Asia Trip Short For Big Week
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Vice President Mike Pence has cut his Asia trip short "to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday." Pence will return to Washington on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. Trump has a busy week ahead, as he plans to roll out a tax reform on framework, sign a number of executive orders, and works to keep the government open past Friday.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login