Researchers say new satellite images of a facility in North Korea could show a secret nuclear warhead manufacturing facility.
The images, provided to Yahoo News Australia by the Millebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, were captured by earth imaging company Planet Labs in May in the village of Wollo-ri near the recluse nation’s capital, Pyongyang.
“The site has a number of signatures suggesting that it has a role in the DPRK’s nuclear program,” Professor Jeffrey Lewis from the Millebury Institute of International Studies explains in his analysis of the images.
He said a security perimeter, on-site housing, monuments and an underground facility were all indicators the facility is linked to the production of nuclear weapons.
“North Korea tends to emphasise the construction of better housing as a perk for scientists and technicians involved in the nuclear and missile programs,” Prof Lewis says.
The site is active, Prof Lewis says, with vehicles routinely entering and exiting the site while shipping containers can be seen in the satellite images.
“The presence of specific kinds of vehicles at the site, which continue to be visible, may account for the assessment that warheads were being moved out of the facility, presumably to the warhead storage facility near Kusong,” Prof Lewis explains.
It is next to a spring water factory which, according to North Korean state media, was visited by Kim Jong II in 2011 and Kim Jong Un in 2016.
While the facility was first identified in 2015, researchers chose not to reveal their theory due to not knowing its exact role in North Korea’s nuclear facility.
Yet details of the site have since been published in Korean expert Ankit Panda’s latest book Kim Jong Un and the Bomb and the information has since been made public.
A military source in North Korea has since responded to the claims, telling Daily NK the facility is in fact a school for training military officers.
A US envoy arrived in South Korea on Tuesday in an effort to renew stalled nuclear talks with North Korea, hours after it issued a statement saying it has no intention of sitting down with the United States and told South Korea to "stop meddling."
US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who has led working-level talks with the North Koreans, landed at a US military base south of Seoul, media reported, and was due to meet South Korean officials on Wednesday and Thursday.
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