Satellite images of North Korea’s Punggye-ri site appear to show that the rogue state is “primed and ready” to launch a nuclear test.
US-based analysts 38 North say that the images show “continued activity around the North Portal, new activity in the Main Administrative Area, and a few personnel around the site’s Command Centre”.
Separate reports claim that Kim Jong-un is planning to detonate a nuclear device on Saturday to mark the 105th anniversary of former leader Kim Il-sung’s birth.
Earlier this week North Korea said that it would defend itself by “powerful force of arms” after a US Navy aircraft carrier was deployed in to the Sea of Japan.
Donald Trump has responded by warning that an “armada” is heading towards the Korean peninsula as tensions continue to escalate.
How many nuclear weapons does North Korea have?
North Korea is extremely secretive about its nuclear weapons programme, which it has developed despite international condemnation.
In June 2016, it was estimated that Pyongyang has between 13 and 21 warheads, four to six more than it did in late 2014.
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said in a statement: "Since the end of 2014, or during the last 18 months, North Korea has added an estimated 4-6 nuclear weapons to this value, based on additional production of separated plutonium and weapon-grade uranium at Yongbyon, where any contribution of a second centrifuge plant is ignored.”
Kim Jong-un was pictured today opening a new residential street
Satellite images show Kim Jong-un escalating nuclear action
Wed, April 12, 2017
New satellite images show in great detail how Kim Jong-un is escalating North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
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Figure 1. Activity continues at the North Portal
“Thus, as of June 2016, North Korea has about 13-21 nuclear weapons, where one weapon was subtracted to reflect the underground test in early 2016," it said.
The Federation of American Scientists has estimated that North Korea has enough fissile material to “potentially produce 10-20 nuclear warheads”.
In the past decade Pyongyang has conducted five nuclear tests.
Each successive bomb appears to have grown in strength, with the most recent in September 2016 measuring between 10 and 30 kilotonnes.
Kim Jong-un has launched several missile tests
Could North Korea launch a nuclear missile?
Kim Jong-un has claimed that North Korea has the ballistic technology needed to target the west with nuclear warheads.
After a missile test in August 2016, Kim claimed that the US and its “operational theatre in the Pacific” are now within his “striking range”.
Following the September 2016 nuclear test, North Korean state media warned that is is now able to mount a warhead to a missile.
A statement said: “The standardisation of the nuclear warhead will enable [North Korea] to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power with a firm hold on the production of various fissile materials and technology for their use.
Forbidden photographs depict the true North Korean army
Wed, April 12, 2017
While tourists are able to visit North Korea as part of a controlled tour group, they are asked by their handlers to never take photographs of soldiers. These pictures taken by photographer Eric Lafforgue show the reality of military service in the secretive state
ERIC LAFFORGUE/EXCLUSIVEPIX MEDI
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Soldiers enjoy a ride at the funfair in Pyongyang
“This has definitely put on a higher level [the North’s] technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.”
Experts believe that North Korea will be capable of striking the US within the next four years.
Dennis Wilder, former special assistant to George W Bush, said: "We believe, and American intelligence estimates say this, that the North Koreans could have such a weapon within the next four years.
“In other words, during the term of President Trump."