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Rocket launch site being expanded, images show

Sat., Aug. 31, 2013

WASHINGTON – New satellite imagery shows North Korea is conducting major new construction to expand facilities at a launch site where it fired a rocket into orbit last December, a U.S. research institute said Friday.

The work at the west coast site of Sohae, near the northern border with China, includes what could be a new launch pad for testing mobile ballistic missiles.

The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies stressed that’s a preliminary analysis, based on scrutiny of commercial satellite imagery.

The construction includes upgrading of roads and other facilities, among them a compound likely used by troops involved in the building work. The work began in midyear, and there are unlikely to be rocket launches at Sohae for the next six months while it is underway, the institute said.

The construction at Sohae appears to have been continuing even as Pyongyang has dialed down its threats against the U.S. and improved relations with South Korea.


 

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