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Seoul Sees No Sign Of Restoration Of Punggye-ri Nuclear Site Tunnels – S.Korean Official



Seoul has seen no indication that repair works are being carried out on underground tunnels of North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, demolished by Pyongyang in May 2018 to confirm commitment to denuclearization, a South Korean official said on Tuesday

SEOUL (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 25th January, 2022) Seoul has seen no indication that repair works are being carried out on underground tunnels of North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, demolished by Pyongyang in May 2018 to confirm commitment to denuclearization, a South Korean official said on Tuesday.

On Monday, Olli Heinonen, former deputy head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in an interview with Voice of America broadcaster reckoned that, based on satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri site, that North Korea has conducted maintenance activities on some buildings of the complex, citing traces of cars and snow clearing. Pyongyang would only conduct works on the site either to monitor possible radioactivity releases or in preparation to resume nuclear tests, Heinonen said.

“We have identified the reported maintenance activities at part of the facilities there, but we have not detected any signs of activities to restore tunnels,” an unnamed official was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.

South Korea is closely monitoring the activities on Punggye-ri since it was decommissioned in 2018, the country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told the agency.

In 2018, North Korea destroyed tunnels and related infrastructure at the site as a sign of its commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in front of a handful of international journalists but did not allow experts to attend the closing ceremony.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un instructed the government to revise trust-building policy towards the United States and voiced his intention to resume all previously halted activities, a reference to the self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missiles testing. South Korean and Japanese militaries have also reported an increase in missile test launches in recent weeks.



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