May 21, 2022

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US officials report

there North Korea He may soon be back for testing, for the first time since 2017,nuclear weaponas part of a program to improve its arsenal and increase international political pressure, as well as in light of conflict UkraineRussia. The warning comes from US and South Korean officials and analysts, according to several US media reports, a few days after the new “celebration” launch of Kim’s new super missile. And today only The United States has announced new sanctions against North Korea, affecting “entities linked to intercontinental ballistic missile launches,” according to a memo from the US Treasury.

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North Korea, possible new nuclear tests

According to information revealed by US officials, reported by Reuters, there are indications, including activity near a nuclear site Punggye-ri, that Pyongyang could prepare for some kind of test. At the moment it will not be possible to determine when this will happen. A South Korean military officer confirmed a circumstance that he was monitoring activities – specifically in Punggye-ri – to restore one of the tunnels used for nuclear testing.

From the White House does not brief comment on the possibility, but the Pentagon spokesman John Kirby But he stressed that Washington is concerned about the possibility of new tests in North Korea. In this regard, analysts point out that the tests could help North Korea achieve its stated goals of manufacturing smaller and more “reliable” nuclear warheads.

international context

The resumption of nuclear testing could create tension in the region. China and Russia joined the United States and other members of the United Nations Security Council in imposing sanctions on Pyongyang over its past tests, but in the wake of last week’s ICBM launches, both Beijing and Moscow signaled opposition to any new measures and said they should be eased. Penalties.

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Punggye-ri nuclear site

Already at the beginning of March, some satellite images had put fleas in the ear of analysts. The images were taken by commercial satellite company Maxar and related to the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, analyzed by the James Martin Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and showed “the first signs of a resumption of activity”.

Jeffrey Lewis of the Martin Center, who led the test, noted that recent images taken from space showed new buildings at the site and other “signs of work” at the nuclear test facility. A “disturbing” sign that the country of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un may be planning to resume atomic bomb tests after claiming the site’s destruction in 2018. These were the first signs of work at the site since North Korea, in a video released in 2018, showed it had dismantled the structure Even by blowing up part of it. The shutdown appeared a month after the North Korean leader announced an end to nuclear explosive and ballistic missile tests. It was part of a diplomatic initiative between Kim and the (later collapsed) Trump administration.

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