Satellite images reveal North Korea may be preparing another missile test

Five of the past six nuclear tests were conducted at the North Portal

A report issued Thursday by 38 North says the activity - spotted in satellite images taken last month - underscores Pyongyang's efforts to maintain the site despite news that tunnel collapses killed several hundred people there after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.

Tunnel excavation has been ramped up at the West Portal at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, while the North Portal remains dormant, the images show.

However, an estimated nine mining carts were seen at the West Portal (Tunnel 4), and there appeared to be new rails on top of the spoil pile, which was seen expanding in size. The underground nuclear test is believed to have seismically destabilized the region and caused a series of earthquakes.

The olive branch led to the first official dialogue between the two Koreas in more than two years, and an agreement for Pyongyang to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in the South.The apparent rapprochement came after months of confrontation, during which Pyongyang carried out multiple missile tests and by far its biggest nuclear detonation to date. The tremors may have even affected nearby Paektu Mountain, a sacred mountain throughout Korean history and a major symbol of the North Korean regime.

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On October 10 a year ago, a tunnel at the underground nuclear site reportedly collapsed killing up to 200 people.

"These activities underscore North Korea's continued efforts to maintain the Punggye-ri site's potential for future nuclear testing", the report added.

After visiting Pyongyang, Vorontsov said that tensions were skyhigh and soldiers were on high alert. But North Korea made no promises on its weapons programme at the talks, and lashed out when asked about denuclearisation by South Korean journalists, saying it was not up for discussion. If the report from 38 North proves to be correct, we may see the conflict between North Korea and the USA reach a whole new level. However, Pyongyang is extremely serious about this scenario and is not bluffing when it says that "only one question remains: when will war break out?" he wrote.

In October, Trump infamously declared that his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was "wasting his time trying to negotiate" with North Korean leaders.

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