Mainichi, Yomiuri, and Nikkei wrote that the U.S.-Korea Institute of Johns Hopkins University said on its 38 North website on Monday that Foreign Minister Kono’s remarks on March 31 that North Korea appears to be making preparations for another nuclear test are not supported by recent information obtained from commercial satellite imagery. Kono reportedly said in a speech in Kochi on Saturday that North Korea appears to be making active preparations for a nuclear test by removing soil from the tunnel at the nuclear test site, but did not cite the source of the information. According to the three papers, Kono reiterated on Tuesday that North Korea’s activities at the test site appear to be continuing based on available information. Nikkei speculated that Kono’s remarks were intended to emphasize the need to maintain the sanctions and international unity against the DPRK. However, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson expressed displeasure with Kono’s remarks, saying at a press conference that Beijing hopes nothing will hinder recent efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.