North Korea Reportedly Rebuilding Rocket Facilities After Trump-Kim Summit Ends at Impasse

Move is seen as preparation to restart missile tests; facilities were dismantled last year when Pyongyang entered talks with U.S. and South Korea

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
The Sohae Satellite Launching Station in a commercial satellite image taken over Tongchang-ri, North Korea on March 2, 2019 and released March 5, 2019.
The Sohae Satellite Launching Station in a commercial satellite image taken over Tongchang-ri, North Korea on March 2, 2019 and released March 5, 2019. Credit: Houndout/Reuters

North Korea is reportedly restoring facilities at its long-range rocket launch site that it had dismantled as part of disarmament steps last year.

The development came after a high-stakes nuclear summit last week between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump ended without any agreement.

South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported Wednesday that the country's spy service gave such an assessment on the North's Tongchang-ri launch site to lawmakers in a private briefing Tuesday.

The Sohae Satellite Launching Station in a commercial satellite image taken over Tongchang-ri, North Korea on March 2, 2019 and released March 5, 2019. Credit: Handout/Reuters

>>Read more: Kim Jong Un's train ride to Trump summit was more than a security measure | Analysis

An article from 38 North, a website specializing in North Korea studies, cited commercial satellite imagery as indicating that efforts to rebuild some structures at the site started sometime between February 16 and March 2.

Dismantling parts of its long-range rocket launch facility in the northwest was among several steps the North took last year when it entered talks with the United States and South Korea. The site is where North Korea carried out satellite launches in recent years, inviting rounds of sanctions from the UN that saw it as disguised test of missile technology.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi. Credit: AFP

JoongAng Ilbo cited unidentified lawmakers who attended the briefing as saying that National Intelligence Service director Suh Hoon told them that the structures being restored at the launch site include roofs and doors of buildings.

Suh was quoted as saying that the move is seen as a preparation to restart long-range missile test-launches in the event that nuclear diplomacy completely collapses or to add some structures to blow up the launch site more dramatically in a show of denuclearization commitment when U.S. inspectors visit if negotiations with Washington go well.

The offices of South Korean lawmakers who took part in Tuesday's briefing couldn't immediately confirm the newspaper report.

The 38 North report said the rail-mounted transfer building is being reassembled at the launch site. It said two support cranes can be seen at the building, and walls have been erected and a new roof added.

At the engine test stand, the website said it appears that the engine support structure is being reassembled. It said new roofs have been installed on the fuel and oxidizer buildings.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott