N.Korea Tidying Up Rocket Launch Site

      September 24, 2015 09:33

      A screen grab shows a rocket being launched from a launch pad in Cholsan, North Pyongan Province in this picture released by the official [North] Korean Central News Agency on Dec. 12, 2012 (file photo).

      North Korea has fenced off and tidied up a rocket launch site as the Workers Party's 70th anniversary on Oct. 10 approaches, a government source here said Wednesday.

      But there are no signs of an imminent launch at the remote site in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province.

      "There's lively activity at the Tongchang-ri missile launch site," the source here said. "We've found out that there's more movement of people and equipment there and they're putting the launch site into order."

      But no rocket parts have been taken to the site yet, the source added.

      Seoul still worries that the North will launch a rocket to coincide with the party anniversary, testing technology that could then be used to build an intercontinental ballistic missile.

      If converted into an ICBM, a rocket with a range of about 10,000 km could hit the western U.S. mainland.

      But it would take seven to 10 days to transport the first- and second-stage parts of the rocket to Tongchang-ri, assemble it and inject liquid fuel.

      The North earlier claimed it was poised to send a satellite into orbit as part of a "peaceful space program" but is not believed to have viable satellite technology.

      On Wednesday the North showed CNN reporters the exterior of what it claimed was a satellite control center, the command post for missile launches.

      CNN quoted senior officials there as saying a launch is "imminent" and final preparations are "nearly finished" to send rockets and "multiple satellites" into space.

      They expressed "outrage" at the suggestion that they were in fact testing missile technology, the news channel said.

      "Following the instructions of Marshall Kim Jong-un, we scientists here are working very hard, you can't imagine how hard, to develop in the shortest possible time, multi-functional, highly reliable Earth observation satellites. We are trying to show to the world how patriotic we are and how creative we are as scientists," one official said.

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