Satellite images released Tuesday show activity at a North Korea nuclear site — the latest military provocation by the totalitarian nation since President Joe Biden took office.
The photos show steam or smoke rising from a building at the Yongbyon Radiochemistry Laboratory and a thermal plant next door. They were posted online by The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank that researches Korean unification.
The lab is used to extract plutonium from fuel rods, according to the organization.
“This, while not an indicator of a reprocessing campaign itself, indicates that the building is occupied and being heated,” CSIS wrote.
The activity comes days after North Korea confirmed it tested a new guided missile, in defiance of the US.
The test came after Pyongyang condemned recent joint US-South Korean military exercises. North Korea has refused to engage in diplomatic relations with the Biden administration.
The latest nuclear activity is likely a continuation of the escalating rift between the countries, experts said.
“Probable reasons for this activity are preparations for, or the start of, a new reprocessing campaign, a strategic political move by Kim Jong-un to continue slowly ratcheting up pressure on both the Biden administration and South Korean president Moon Jae-in, or a combination of both,” CSIS’s Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha wrote.
As the UN Security Council met to discuss North Korea this week, President Biden said he will not meet with dictator Kim Jong Un, unlike his predecessor.
Former President Trump had three meetings with Kim, but relations later soured over sanctions and nuclear negotiations.
With Post wires