During the 2016 presidential elections, the Democrats insisted a Donald Trump presidency would take the U.S. into military conflicts with Iran, Russia, and/or North Korea.
To their surprise, former President Trump actually withdrew troops from the Middle East and Afghanistan, not sending troops into any new military conflicts his entire fours years in office.
Kim Jong-un has been the Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011 and is known for having a short fuse. In a surprise to many, Trump and Jong-un actually developed a good working relationship, which led to them meeting at the DMZ where Trump crossed Into North Korea.
This relationship led to North Korea halting the testing of its long-range missiles landing near Japan. The Communist nation also announced a plan to close down their Punggye-ri Nuclear Testing Site, ahead of scheduled summits with South Korea and the U.S.
Recent commercial satellite images of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, which the communist regime claimed it had destroyed in 2018,suggest the center has resumed construction activities for the first time since, the Associated Press (AP) reported Tuesday.
The news agency analyzed satellite photos of Punggye-ri taken on March 6 by Planet Labs PBC that appeared to show “two new structures … built to the site’s south between February and early March.”
Planet Labs PBC is an Earth-imaging company based in San Francisco, California. The Colorado-based Maxar Technologies took separate satellite photos of Punggye-ri on March 4 that seemed to show similar evidence of construction at the nuclear test site.
I made a .gif with @DaveSchmerler showing the changes at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site. We’ve caught the construction very early, which means it’s too early to tell what they’re up to or how long it would take to get the test site back to a state of readiness. pic.twitter.com/Th75GP1NyM
— Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) March 7, 2022
Jeffrey Lewis and Dave Schmerler of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies published an analysis of the Maxar Technologies images of Punggye-ri on March 7.
In the image, we see very early signs of activity at the new site, including construction of a new building, repair of another building, and what is possibly some lumber and sawdust.
North Korea uses a substantial amount of wood at the site both for buildings and shoring up tunnels. These changes have occurred only in the past few days.
The gentleman also noted that the changes to Punggye-ri were the first they had observed since North Korea’s government announced the nuclear test site’s closure in May 2018.
They clarified that the satellite images from March 4 indicate “very early stages [of construction], when it is difficult to conclude what precisely is being built or why.”
The apparent construction activity at Punggye-ri suggests Pyongyang may have recently made “some decision” about the site, according to the scientists.
The duo also hypothesized about the possible decisions surrounding Punggye-ri, writing:
One possibility is that North Korea plans to bring the test site back to a state of readiness to resume nuclear explosive testing, consistent with the statement North Korea issued in January to “examine the issue of restarting all temporarily-suspended activities.”
The test site is many months, if not years, from being ready for North Korea to conduct nuclear explosions there.
The U.S. intelligence community published its annual threat assessment on March 8 based on information gathered through January 2022. In their section on North Korea, they implied Pyongyang was capable of conducting a nuclear test sometime this year.
“In January, North Korea began laying the groundwork for an increase in tensions that could include (intercontinental ballistic missile) or possibly a nuclear test this year — actions that Pyongyang has not taken since 2017,” the document read.
I personally believe Kim Jong-un does enough to give the impression that North Korea is strong and able to protect itself.
In reality, China is the boss in the region, with Jong-un as the little guy trying to get their approval when possible.
China is not interested in a nuclear war in the region, so no one else will more than likely be starting one either.
This story syndicated with permission from Eric Thompson, Author at Trending Politics
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