North Korea’s nuclear test site more damaged than previously thought, study finds

Space-based radar shows after the recent weapons test significant damage was done to part of the Punggye-ri test site

Friday 11 May 2018 14:14 BST
North Korea 'suspends' missile and nuclear tests

The damage to North Korea’s nuclear test site after its latest missile firing is believed to be worse than previously thought, it has been reported.

Space-based radar showed that after the initial impact of the blast, which took place in September 2017, a large part of the underground Punggye-ri test site caved in.

Chinese scientists had previously said that due to a partial collapse of a mountain near the test region that part of the site was no longer useable.

The new research, from a study published in Science magazine, confirms this is likely to be the case.

Sylvain Barbot, one of the authors of the study, said: “This means that a very large domain has collapsed around the test site, not merely a tunnel or two.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promised to shut down the site in what many have viewed as a significant concession.

This new evidence however adds to theories the site is unusable and its closure an empty gesture.

However, US researchers who have studied satellite images of the region argue that some parts of the Punggye-ri site are still usable, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The news comes as Donald Trump has confirmed the date and location of his historic meeting with Mr Kim - saying he will meet the North Korean leader in Singapore on 12 June and calling it a “very special moment for world peace!”

Mr Trump had previously expressed a preference for the meetings to be held in the demilitarised zone, which he said would be an especially symbolic location.

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