North Korea Prepares for New Nuclear Test - Experts
Friday, January 12, 2007 Posted: 04:59 PM JST
Experts at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies warn that North Korea is preparing for a new nuclear test.
"In early December 2006, intelligence sources indicated activities were underway at the Mount Mant'ap nuclear test site near the village of Punggye-ri in North Hamgyŏng Province. The activities were first disclosed by South Korean National Assemblyman Chŏng Hyŏng-gŏn of the Grand National Party (GNP or 'Hannaradang') on December 21. Chŏng's disclosure followed South Korean Defense Minister Kim Chang-su's December 15th admonition to 30 senior military commanders 'to be thoroughly prepared to counter the possibility of a second or third nuclear test by North Korea.' According to National Assemblyman Chŏng, North Korea had prepared two tunnels under Mount Mant'ap, and the October 9, 2006 test was conducted in a tunnel on the eastern side of the mountain while recent activities have been at the western tunnel. According to a South Korean government source, the movement of people and vehicles has been detected at the site, and the activities are similar to those that preceded the first test.
National Assemblyman Chŏng revealed that in December 2006 an unidentified object was moved to the western tunnel entrance and up to 15 people were observed moving about the area. Chŏng said that the North Koreans were seen constructing a temporary building 10 meters from the tunnel entrance and it is very likely the North Koreans were preparing the tunnel for a nuclear test. Chŏng also claimed that after the October 9th test in the eastern tunnel, the North Koreans removed the three temporary support buildings near that tunnel entrance and excavated and subsequently filled in a 95-meter long ditch between the buildings and the tunnel, which indicates they could be preparing the eastern tunnel for a future test as well."
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