Nuke test site in North isn't flooded: Beyond Parallel

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Nuke test site in North isn't flooded: Beyond Parallel

Satellite images from the past week show only minor flood damage at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, suggesting the regime's seventh nuclear test is being delayed due a political decision, not the weather, according to a U.S. think tank.  
Beyond Parallel, a North Korea analysis division run by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), concluded from satellite images taken on Aug. 24 that there was limited evidence that heavy rains over the Korean Peninsula during the past two months have significantly impacted the operational status of the test area in mountainous North Hamgyong Province
The think tank noted that “no significant activity” has been observed at Tunnel No. 3 on the southern side of the Punggye-ri site, where U.S. and South Korean intelligence believe the North has finished all preparations for conducting a nuclear test.
But the think tank added that road construction to Tunnel No. 4 in the northern portion of the nuclear test site remains suspended, probably due to heavy rains.
No new vehicles, construction equipment or personnel are visible in photos of either tunnel.
Beyond Parallel noted evidence of flood damage that may have temporarily restricted movement on the facility’s original access road, which runs along a river just south of the site's command center.  
Satellite images also show that a new road approximately 740 meters (809 yards) in length was built west of the facility’s riverside access road between late July and early August, according to the think tank.  
The original access road ran along the sides of the riverbed and crossed the river four times, making it susceptible to flooding from even minor storms.
The newer road lies at a higher elevation from the river, connecting the site’s command center to a support center in the south, which Beyond Parallel believed would provide unobstructed access to the command center during future flooding events.
U.S. and South Korean intelligence believe North Korea has completed all preparations for a seventh nuclear test, and that the decision remains solely with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who said the country’s “nuclear war deterrent is also fully ready to demonstrate its absolute power” in late July.
Pyongyang conducted a public demolition of portals to Punggye-ri's tunnels in May 2018 amid an easing of inter-Korean tensions and ongoing dialogue with Washington, but reconstructed the portals at tunnels No.3 and No. 4 this past year.

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