In a press conference today, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Grossi told press that the agency believes the Hermit Kingdom is preparing to conduct a nuclear test at Punggye-ri underground nuclear test site in the north of the country where the last six nuclear tests occurred from 2006 to 2017.
Grossi said: “At the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri we have observed indications that one of the adits (entrances) has been reopened, possibly in preparation for a nuclear test. The conduct of a nuclear test would contravene UN Security Council resolutions and would be a cause for serious concern.”
While he did not disclose the actual imagery, he added that this type of activity is consistent with the 2017 test in which a detonation occurred within 4 days of venting operations.
Director Grossi said the country’s nuclear program was “a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” calling on North Korea to comply fully with its obligations under those resolutions and cooperate with the IAEA.
“North Korea should resolve all outstanding issues, especially those that have arisen during the absence of agency inspectors from the country,” he added.
Two days ago, North Korea launched eight short range ballistic missile, the most numerous launch in the history of the country’s ballistic missile program, apparently in response to a South Korean and American naval exercise in the region. The United States and South Korea responded by launching eight of their own MGM-140 ATACMS surface to surface missiles, demonstrating their resolve to strike North Korean missile sites if necessary. The video below shows the launch:
China responded by urging the United States and South Korea to “show restraint” with regards to North Korean tests, demonstrating that the CCP is likely not to support a UN or international intervention if the Hermit Kingdom conducts the nuclear test.