(CNN) – At Kim Jong-un’s nuclear bomb testing site, a stir of new activity. The monitoring group “38 north” said satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri site, reveals the pumping out of water at the north portal. The tunnel that North Korea may have been preparing for a nuclear test.
The pictures, from April 25th, also show what appear to be mining carts near that tunnel.
Bruce Klingner, former CIA Analyst said, “This kind of activity shows that they are either maintaining or preparing the nuclear test site for another test.”
This comes days after the U.S. military observed digging activity near that same crucial tunnel. A U.S. defense official tells CNN, this suggests a nuclear-bomb test is not imminent.
Klingner said, if Kim was about to test, they’d stop activity and clear everyone out, but the danger remains. “We know North Korea is going to do another nuclear test, just as we know that they’re going to do an ICBM test eventually. We just don’t know when.”
Matthew Pottinger, a top White House official now said there are additional, sinister motives for Kim Jong-un. In building his nuclear arsenal. “They want to use these weapons as an instrument of blackmail, to achieve other goals, even including perhaps coercive reunification of the Korean Peninsula one day after they can attempt to coerce the U.S.to leave the peninsula, and to abandon our alliances.”
When asked, “Could the U.S.be blackmailed into abandoning South Korea,” Klingner replied, “No. We have treaty obligations. We have an ironclad commitment to defend our allies.”
A commitment shown in brand new video of the USS Vinson Carrier Strike Group, with fighter jets flying overhead, conducting exercises with South Korean ships.
U.S. military officials said the carrier group is now off the Korean Peninsula. A response to Kim’s recent provocations. This all comes as Pyongyang has accused an American, Tony Kim, of trying to overthrow the regime.
He’s now the third American detained in North Korea. The regime said Tony Kim had worked there temporarily as an accounting professor, but they hadn’t said specifically what he did, to get arrested.
Marie Myung-Ok Lee, of Columbia University said, “You could basically be arrested for anything in North Korea. When we entered, they gave us a very long list of things we should not bring. No religious tracts of any sort, no Bibles, but also no porn, no firearms, no DVD’s of popular movies.”
Analysts say the North Koreans will very likely use the three Americans they’re detaining, as bargaining chips.
For some kind of concession from the U.S. However, they said, if any of them becomes ill, they’ll most likely be released, because the regime could face serious pushback if an American died in their custody.