MOSCOW (Sputnik) – North Korea could be preparing for a new nuclear test, satellite imagery released by the 38 North monitoring website shows.
"New commercial satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site from March 7 indicates activity at the North Portal, Main Administrative Area and Command Center. The sum of these activities supports an assessment that North Korea continues to prepare the tunnels at the North Portal for a future nuclear test," 38 North said in its Thursday analysis accompanying the satellite images.
The images reflect a changing patter of equipment and supplies and continuing work at the location over the past six months.
On Monday, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles, explaining a day later that the launches were a test of its ability to strike US military facilities located in Japan.
Last year, North Korea carried out two nuclear tests and over two dozen of test launches using ballistic missile technology. Previously, the United Nations imposed sanctions on North Korea for three nuclear tests it carried out in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
In late April, 2016, the 38 North monitoring website released commercial satellite imagery showing that North Korea was resuming excavation operations at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, with similar activity observed at the facility as that seen three days prior to the February 12, 2013 nuclear test.
The UN Security Council has adopted a number of resolutions imposing restrictions on North Korea in order to make Pyongyang halt its nuclear and missile activities.
North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005. The United States, Japan and South Korea, as well as Russia and China, took part in talks with North Korea on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula between 2003 and 2009, when Pyongyang withdrew from the talks.