New Delhi, Oct. 31: At least 200 people have reportedly been killed after a tunnel collapsed at a nuclear test site in North Korea, Japanese media reported.
According to Japan’s TV Asahi, the incident took place on October 10 during construction of a new underground facility at Punggye-ri nuclear testing site in northeastern North Korea.
Reports say that over 100 people were trapped inside the tunnel when it collapsed. As rescue teams were carrying out relief work, the tunnel collapsed further taking the death toll to at least 200.
North Korea is yet to confirm news about the tragedy.
Experts have said a series of tremors and landslides near the nuclear test base probably mean the country’s sixth and largest blast on September 3 has destabilised the region, and the Punggye-ri nuclear site may not be used to test nuclear weapons.
“The explosion from the September 3 test had such power that the existing tunnels within the underground testing site might have caved in,” Reuters quoted Kim So-gu, head researcher at the Korea Seismological Institute, as saying.
The explosion from the sixth test was large enough for residents of the Chinese border city of Yanji, 200 km (125 miles) north of North Korea’s nuclear test site, to feel the ground shake beneath their feet.
Despite the international community calling North Korea to restrain from conducting missile tests, the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un has continued with his relentless nuclear program.
United States President Donald Trump had recently warned North Korea of “total destruction” if its leader Kim Jong-Un, whom he mockingly described as “Rocket Man”, continued with his provocative behaviour.
In September, Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan and tested a hydrogen bomb, prompting Trump to insist that “all options were on the table” in an implied threat of pre- emptive military action.
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. ‘Rocket Man’ is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Trump had said in his maiden address to the UN General Assembly. INDIA,COM