Satellite images show new activity at North Korean rocket facility

Kim Jong Un. Photo: NKNews.org

March 6 (UPI) — North Korea is “rapidly rebuilding” the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility, according to an analysis of satellite images.

The launch facility has been used in the past to launch satellites into space but uses technology similar to intercontinental ballistic missile launches. There’s been a flurry of activity at the site since talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down last week in Vietnam.

“This renewed activity, taken just two days after the inconclusive Hanoi summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, may indicate North Korean plans to demonstrate resolve in the face of U.S. rejection of North Korea’s demands at the summit to lift five U.N. Security Council sanctions enacted in 2016-17,” analysts from Beyond Parallel said Tuesday.

Beyond Parallel, a commercial satellite imagery company sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, identified 20 undisclosed missile sites in North Korea.

Kim agreed to dismantle the Sohae facility over the summer after the first meeting with Trump and appeared to keep that promise. It has seemed abandoned since August.

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But activity picked up on Saturday after Kim returned from his second meeting with Trump. Kim pushed for the United States to lift sanctions on the country but Trump refused.

Analysts haven’t spotted an actual missile at the Sohae site.

“The activity on the ground shows us that they do have a [nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile] capability that is not just developmental but in the prototype phase,” said Victor Cha of CSIS. “They’ve already tested a few of these and it looks like they’re preparing the launch pad for another act.”

Trump has characterized his talks with Kim a “very productive,” saying they have “made great historic progress.”

“But I had to walk,” Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday. “Because every once in awhile, you have to walk, because the deal wasn’t a deal that was acceptable to me.”

He went on to say, “the one thing we have, though, is we have no testing, no missiles going up, no rockets going up. No nuclear testing.”

Kim said he had a “productive visit” with Trump.

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