North Korea’s adoption of a new rule on natural disasters last month indicates that experts’ warnings of volcanic eruptions of Mount Baekdu have spread widely throughout the country, the South Korean government said Wednesday.
Pyongyang’s new law stipulates principles for observing and forecasting natural disasters, particularly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, in addition to how to minimize damage and undertake rescue activities, the Korean Central News Agency reported last month, without giving further details.
Experts outside the secretive communist country have warned since last year that North Korea’s Mount Baekdu, which borders China, may still have an active core, citing topographical signs and satellite images.
The 2,744-meter Mount Baekdu, the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, last erupted in 1903.
“Pyongyang likely intended to calm jitters among the public over widespread speculations over an eruption by devising systematic measures, and to draw international support for its disaster-prevention efforts,” Seoul’s Unification Ministry said in its weekly report.
“North Korea is presumed to have merged different regulations on disaster prevention while adding rules on volcanoes and earthquakes that have been missing so far,” the report continued.
Experts from the two Koreas held talks on potential volcanic activity at Mount Baekdu in March and April. North Korea proposed the rare meeting soon after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan earlier this year. The two sides have held no further talks or actions since then.