As the world holds its breath in anticipation of a possible nuclear test, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosted a photo event in Pyongyang for a group of the country’s youth troops, state media in the isolated country reported on Saturday.
The photo shoot was announced in the midst of a number of reports that the Pyongyang government is on the verge of carrying out a sixth nuclear bomb test, possibly timed to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean state – September 9 – next week.
Kim took photos with participants in the fourth conference of ‘active secretaries of primary organizations of the youth league of the Korean People’s Army (KPA),’ according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
According to The Korea Herald, the photo session took place at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.
The palace doubles as the mausoleum for his grandfather Kim Il-sung and father Kim Jong-il.
The KCNA did not specify the date of the event but it’s believed to have been held on Friday.
Kim ‘warmly congratulated the secretaries of primary organizations and young officials of the youth league of the KPA who fully demonstrate the resourcefulness and bravery of youngsters at the posts standing guard over the homeland and at major sites for building a socialist power,’ KCNA said.
Meanwhile, there is keen global attention on the possibility of additional provocations by his regime.
Satellite images have emerged suggesting North Korea is ready to carry out a sixth nuclear bomb test amid fears it could coincide with the state’s anniversary next week.
The overhead pictures of Punggye-ri nuclear test site, in the country’s north east reveal Kim Jong-un could order a test blast ‘at any time with minimal advance warning’, experts say.
And there are fears that the tyrant may chose September 9, North Korea’s Day of the Foundation of the Republic, to carry out the trial.
The same date was chosen last year by North Korea to conduct its fifth nuclear test, marking the 68 years since Kim Il-sung came to power.
Satellite pictures released by 38 North show minor movements at Punggye-ri – suggesting that the site remains on ‘standby’.
The think tank said: ‘As long as the site remains in standby status, we cannot rule out that a sixth nuclear test could be conducted at any time with minimal advance warning.’
But it added that the images do ‘not provide observable corroborative evidence that the DPRK is about to conduct another underground nuclear test immediately.’
Instead, ‘the DPRK has, since April 2017, continued to maintain the site at a high state of readiness such that it could conduct a test on short notice, whenever the political decision is made to proceed with another test or tests.’
It comes as tensions continued to rise between North Korea and the US following Pyongyang’s test firing of a missile over Japan.
Yesterday, South Korean and Japanese jets joined exercises with two supersonic U.S. B-1B bombers above and near the Korean peninsula in the wake of the test launch.