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North Korea may be in the final phases of preparations for a new nuclear test, according to a report by a program of the US-Korea Institute at the School for Advanced and International Studies (SAIS) dubbed 38 North.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The program reached the conclusion of North Korea preparing for another nuclear test after analyzing commercial satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site from March 25.
"Apart from several mining carts at the West Portal [of the site], there is no significant activity at the other areas of the test site," the report stated on Tuesday. "The lack of activity may mean that test preparations are in their final stages."
The imagery shows three to four vehicles or equipment trailers at the North Portal’s entrance, according to the report. In addition, the ground texture indicates that the ground may have been laid with communications cables.
"Also notable, water is being pumped out of the portal and draining downhill to the east and west, presumably to keep the tunnel dry for monitoring or communications equipment," according to the report.
The program claimed, however, that North Korea is capable of deception and advised to exercise caution before pronouncing the test "imminent."
North Korea has conducted a total of five nuclear tests, with the last one on September 9, 2016.
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