March 07, 2019 09:40
North Korea is restoring a missile test site it promised to scrap last year now that a summit with the U.S. has collapsed, according to a report.
"North Korea is pursuing a rapid rebuilding of the long-range rocket site" at Tongchang-ri, the Center for Strategic and International Studies said on its website.
It bases the conclusion on commercial satellite imagery from March 2. The website 38 North at Johns Hopkins University also said the North seems to have started rebuilding some facilities at Tongchang-ri between Feb. 16 and March 2.
The North suspended activities at Tongchang-ri last August following a promise from leader Kim Jong-un to U.S. President Donald Trump at their first summit in Singapore.
It dismantled various structures and the launch pad, but the new imagery shows two super cranes and the addition of walls and a roof.
The National Intelligence Service here, meanwhile, said vehicles have been spotted arriving at and leaving a missile assembly facility in Sanum-dong, Pyongyang.
South Korean intelligence authorities believe the moves aim to gain leverage in negotiations with Washington since Trump has been touting Pyongyang's suspension of nuclear and missile tests as the biggest achievement in his dealings with the North.
But Joel Wit of the website 38 North said there is no evidence that the rebuilding of Tongchang-ri facilities has progressed to preparations for a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Trump told reporters Wednesday that he would be "very disappointed" if reports that North Korea was rebuilding the rocket launch site were true, but cautioned that it was a "very early report."
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