#North Korea believes in keeping its activities related to the development of #Nuclear Weapons a closely guarded secret. It has an underground #Test Site in the mountainous region of Punggye-ri where it carried out the sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3. This could have led to a weakening of the structure in nearby areas, and subsequent crumbling of the tunnel.

North Korea had claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb as a part of the sixth test. It was labeled as its most powerful bomb ever tested. Pyongyang drew a comparison with the Hiroshima bomb of World War II and said that its bomb was more powerful than the one used in Hiroshima.

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The explosion of the bomb gave rise to a 6.3-magnitude earthquake followed by multiple tremors. At that time, satellite images revealed several landslides in the region with the tunnel finally collapsing on Oct. 10 leaving at least 200 dead. Half of them died in the initial stages while the remaining lost their lives when the tunnel caved in on the rescue teams.

China had warned about possible collapse

Fox News reports that there has been no official statement on the news of the Japanese Asahi-TV station regarding the crumbling of the mountain. In the opinion of experts, the health of the test site had deteriorated from regular testing of nuclear weapons. It was on the verge of failure, and cracks have appeared accompanied by “irreversible strain” on the surroundings. These could be attributed to the nuclear test.

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Chinese scientists had already cautioned North Korea about this aspect and predicted that the mountain could collapse releasing radiation. It may be recalled that radioactive xenon-133 was detected in South Korea after the test.

Nuclear tests could affect the ecology

Pyongyang is adamant on pursuing its agenda of nuking the United States which could prove to be counterproductive given the setback it might face due to the collapse of the tunnel. North Korea wants to create an arsenal of nuclear weapons to hold the world to ransom. However, the collapse of the tunnel at the test site is proof that the ecology is unable to withstand the continuous testing. It is succumbing to the stress, and Kim Jong-un will have to identify alternate locations to test his missiles.

The situation on the Korean peninsula continues to remain tense, and there is an uneasy silence with no war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Probably both the sides are resetting their priorities, and the world can hope for a de-escalation of tension.