N.Korea Lays Train Tracks to New Missile Site

North Korea has been laying train tracks between a new missile test site in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province and a nearby railroad station.

In October last year before it shelled Yeonpyeong Island, the regime reportedly conducted an engine combustion test for the Taepodong-2 or an improved version of a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile in Tongchang-ri.

A South Korean government source said the North is laying the tracks at the Tonchang-ri site, which is believed to have been completed early this year. The site is five times the size of the existing Taepodong missile test site in Musudan-ri in North Hamgyong Province.

"We believe that the train tracks will be used to transport long-range missiles from a missile plant in Pyongyang to the missile assembly facility in Tongchang-ri and to carry materials to the site for various kinds of facilities," the source added.

According to intelligence agencies, the North conducted a similar engine test in 2008 and in late October last year at the Tongchang-ri site. Similar tests have been conducted often at the Taepodong site as well.

But intelligence agencies say there are no indications that the North plans to launch a long-range missile from Tongchang-ri anytime soon.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 25, 2011 11:23 KST