October 30, 2017 09:59
Leading Chinese geologists last month warned their visiting North Korean counterparts of a potentially catastrophic collapse of a mountain on top of North Korea's nuclear test sites, the South China Morning Post reported Friday.
North Korean geologists were in China for a 10-day visit.
"Future tests at the facility could blow the top off the mountain, causing a massive collapse... Radioactive waste could bleed from cracks or holes at the site and be blown across the border," the daily quoted a senior Chinese nuclear scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences as warning. "The fallout can spread to an entire hemisphere."
The North conducted its second through sixth nuclear tests under Mt. Mantap in Pygunggye-ri, 80 km from the North Korea-China border.
According to the daily, the geologists met on Sept. 20, 17 days after the test. Zhai Mingguo, a senior Chinese geologist who helped organize the meeting, told the daily that "North Korea's nuclear tests topped the concerns for the Chinese government."
He declined to say more about their discussion "because it involved 'diplomatic affairs,'" the paper said.
Two days later, on Sept. 22, "North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho announced suddenly at the United Nations in New York that Pyongyang might consider detonating a 'most powerful' hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean," the daily wrote.
That may have been prompted by concerns that another underground test could be disastrous.
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