North Korea is posturing to detonate its first nuclear bomb since 2018 as the world is busy dealing with Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s aggression in the South China Sea, making sanctions from the United Nations unlikely.

Reports from South Korean media company Dong-A Ilbo say signs of reconstruction have been recently identified at North Korea’s nuclear testing facility in Punggye-ri. North Korea watch group 38 North also drew the same conclusion, citing new excavation activity captured through commercial satellite imagery.

The site at Punggye-ri was used to conduct all six of North Korea’s previous nuclear tests. The facility was closed down in May 2018 as part of denuclearization and increased cooperation with the United States and South Korea. However, it is worth noting that some key buildings like the Command and Control Center were not demolished, which allows for the site to be restored.

Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site satellite photograph (USGS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons). Source:
Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site satellite photograph (USGS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

A nuclear test is expected to happen as early as next month in time for the 110th anniversary of the birthday of Kim Jong Un’s grandfather and founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Il Sung.

Reports of the suspected tests came flooding in after Kim Jong Un delivered a new warning to “imperialists” in a statement covered by North Korea’s state-sponsored news outlet, KCNA Watch.

“We must be strong under whatever circumstances to defend peace, accelerate socialist construction and be responsible for the security of the rising generations, free from any threat,” Kim Jong Un said, who reiterated his Party’s intent to bolster the country’s defensive capabilities.

“Only when one is equipped with the formidable striking capabilities, overwhelming military power that cannot be stopped by anyone, one can prevent a war, guarantee the security of the country and contain and put under control all threats and blackmails by the imperialists,” he added.

This development comes after North Korea launched its largest intercontinental ballistic missiles a few weeks ago. Experts believe Kim is using these armament efforts to gather support for the Party. This can be seen with the dramatized video production for one of their missile launches, which looks like they are trying to imitate a movie sequence.