Television screen shows a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test
UN Ambassador Calls For Sanctions On North Korea After Missile Tests Photo by Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

Construction has been spotted in North Korea’s nuclear testing site that was shut down in 2018. Satellite images captured what looks like ongoing repairs at the Punggye-ri site were taken Friday by satellite imaging company Maxar. US analysts are predicting North Korea could resume its nuclear weapons program.

According to the BBC, analysts have come to speculate on the likely possibility that North Korea has begun construction repairs on the testing site for its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Although the repairs at the site could take years to complete and be ready for use, analysts added the images suggest early signs of activity that had just taken place in recent days.

A report written by analysts from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies says some of the images show the construction of a new building alongside repairs being done on an existing structure as well as piles of lumber and sawdust in the area. They added that the work only indicates North Korea’s decision to revive the nuclear weapons program to align with its earlier announcement of bringing the country into a state of readiness following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In January, the North Korean government issued a statement that focused on the issue of “restarting all temporarily-suspended activities”. The predicted time frame for its completion would all depend on the extent of damage that was inflicted on the site’s tunnels when it was shut down. Speculations have also explored the possibility of resuming nuclear tests at another location.

Punggye-ri was dismantled in 2018 with international media invited to bear witness to a series of explosions at the site as part of its diplomatic efforts to resume harmonious ties with South Korea and the US. Pyongyang said the explosions were meant to block tunnels and entrances. However, international inspectors were not allowed to enter, with suggestions pointing to the said damages being easily reversible should North Korea decide to resume testing.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) claimed in August that North Korea appeared to be restarting its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which has raised grave concerns on the possibility that plutonium is being produced at the reactor complex to be used for its nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Russia’s head of the international organizations division for its foreign ministry, Pyotr Ilyichov, praised North Korea for resuming missile tests. The Russian foreign ministry applauded the resumption to renew its ballistic missile tests saying this was an understandable decision and that he saw no prerequisites in resuming its nuclear weapons program just because Washington decided to sanction Pyongyang.

Representation Image Missiles Korea War Museum Joeskeeter/ Pixabay

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