South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told a closed-door session of Parliament on Monday that signs of activity have been detected at North Korea’s Punggye-ri underground nuclear test site, possibly signaling that a new nuclear test is imminent.
CNN quotes a South Korean lawmaker who said satellite imagery indicates North Korean “has completed its preparation to carry out a nuclear test at Tunnel 2 and Tunnel 3 of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site,” while Tunnel 4 is apparently being expanded.
A report at The Australian states that North Korea could conduct a nuclear test within ten days possibly timed to coincide with the national holiday on September 9 commemorating the founding of the nation by current dictator Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung. North Korea’s last nuclear test was held in conjunction with this holiday in 2016.
The Australian suggests China would be profoundly displeased by another underground blast at Punggye-ri because such tests cause significant earth tremors and contaminate water and soil in China. If China is exceptionally angry at North Korea, they have yet to demonstrate it through any public statement.