Fears are mounting that a nuclear blast is imminent after a secret trail was found linking the country’s biggest concentration camp to its bomb test site.
blew up the Punggye-ri test site in 2018 as part of an international charm offensive, having detonated a sixth and final there in 2017.
But experts say he’s rebuilt it could reveal how.
The country’s largest concentration camp, Hwasong, is just a few kilometres from Punggye-ri and holds an estimated 20,000 prisoners in brutal conditions.
It’s long been rumoured that Hwasong provides slave labour to the test site, but in the mountainous terrain of North Korea, travel between the two required a 100-mile round trip.
Now a hidden trail across the mountains has been discovered in satellite imagery, bringing the two locations within walking distance, and boosting the .
The sinister discovery was revealed in a new report from the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) which said the regime “could conduct another test at any time of its choosing”.
The report also cited testimony from a guard at another camp, who said Punggye-ri was “a – once taken there, no one came back alive.”
Raymond Ha of HRNK said: “Nearly eighty years after Allied air forces took aerial photographs of Auschwitz-Birkenau, satellite imagery plays a critical role in documenting and understanding the core of the Kim regime’s crimes against humanity: its .
“This shows evidence of a physical connection between the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and Hwasong concentration camp.”
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Testimony from Hwasong itself is scarce – it’s a maximum-security camp where political prisoners are locked up for life with no possibility of release.
But Jacob Bogle, co-author of the new report, said that prisoners elsewhere had been “routinely used for forced labour… with little regard for their safety.”
“So even though there are no known witnesses to Hwasong, there is also no reason to believe that the 20,000 prisoners there receive any better treatment,” he said.
Mr Bogle speculated that prisoners may have been put to work digging out the tunnels where the regime detonates its nukes.
He said: “The excavation of tunnel one, where conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, required the estimated removal of a minimum of 16.8 million kilograms of rock.
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