North Korea's Punngye-ri nuclear test site has recently witnessed increased activities, which could indicate that the reclusive nation may be preparing for yet another missile test. Satellite images reveal that the site's North Portal, where the last five nuclear tests were conducted, remains dormant, with water draining from the entrance. However, stepped-up tunnelling activities have been detected at the nuclear test site's West Portal.
On 28 December, satellite images also spotted around 100 to 120 personnel at the site's Southern Support Area in seven different mysterious formations. According to experts at the US-based think tank 38North, personnel are rarely observed in this area of the nuclear test site and the purpose of the unusual activity remains unknown.
38North experts believe that the spurt in activities at the Punggye-ri site indicates Pyongyang's continued efforts to keep the site ready for more nuclear tests.
"Approximately nine mining carts are present at the West Portal, and there appear to be new rails on top of the spoil pile," 38North experts said in a report. "It appears that the spoil pile has been expanded significantly along its south side. There is an object on top of the spoil pile and adjacent to some tracks the might be a rock trough/screener."
Tensions between the US and North Korea have steadily escalated since US President Donald Trump took office. Both Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un have recently made threats in a shocking war of words, fuelling panic and hysteria about a possible war breaking out between the two nations.
North Korean soldiers have allegedly been sleeping with their boots on in fear of a potential war breaking out at any moment. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly praised Kim, describing him as a "mature and competent" politician. Putin also said that Kim had "won this round" against Trump, referring to the ongoing and ever-escalating tensions between the two heads of state.