South Korea’s military has warned North Korea that it is closely monitoring its missile sites after media announced Pyongyang might be preparing for a long-range missile or space launch.
US news outlet NPR reported last week that North Korea may be planning a missile or space launch, based on satellite image analysis of a key facility near Pyongyang.
We are “closely tracking and looking into all activity for possible scenarios including a missile launch” across the border in close coordination with the US, said Kim Joon-rak, spokesman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Monday
Satellite images of the Samundong missile research facility and the Sohae rocket-testing facility showed increased activity of cars and trucks at the sites as well as rail cars and cranes at a yard, the NPR reported.
North Korean state media says the people in the country blame Washington for the lack of an agreement during the second summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi.
“When you put all that together, that’s really what it looks like when the North Koreans are in the process of building a rocket,” Jeffrey Lewis, a researcher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, was quoted as saying.
The Samundong facility located on the outskirts of Pyongyang was built in 2012 to support development of long-range missiles and space-launch vehicles.
As well as developing the Hawsong-15 ICBM, which analysts agree is capable of reaching the whole US mainland, Samundong constructed the long-range rockets that were then transported and successfully launched from the Sohae satellite launch station in 2012 and 2016.
At a summit with the South’s President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed last year to shutter the Sohae site.