News

New Images Show North Korea Readying for Rocket Launch

This March 28, 2012 satellite file image provided by DigitalGlobe shows North Korea’s Tongchang-ri launch facility on the nation’s western coast.
This March 28, 2012 satellite file image provided by DigitalGlobe shows North Korea’s Tongchang-ri launch facility on the nation’s western coast.

New satellite images of a North Korean rocket site show evidence of increased preparation for a space launch that Washington sees as cover for a long-range missile test.

The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies said Sunday that satellite photos taken last Wednesday show a mobile radar trailer, not previously present at the new Tongchang-ri site, and rows of what appear to be empty fuel and oxidizer tanks.

The Institute said the photos also show what appears to be activity near the launcher assembly building, where news reports indicate the stages of the Unha-3 rocket are located.

Pyongyang says the launch will put a functional satellite into orbit as part of the celebration of the 100th birthday of the late leader Kim Il Sung, the founder of the communist state and Kim Jong Un's grandfather.

The United States, Russia, South Korea and Japan all have condemned the planned launch.  Even Pyongyang's long-time ally, China, has expressed rare disapproval, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply concerned."   

The Aspen Institute "think tank" in Berlin said Sunday that North Korean and American delegations had held informal talks in Germany.  Charles King Mallory, executive director of the Institute, confirmed the meeting but did not comment in detail on the contents of the so-called "track two" talks or who participated in them.

"Yes there was a meeting," admitted Mallory, "it discussed the four principle areas of the September 15th 2009 joint statement, those would be: peace treaty, they would be economic cooperation and development, denuclearization and confidence building measures, that's what happened."

Watch related video of satellite footage

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said Monday that Pyongyang will hold a special Workers' Party conference on April 11, just days before the satellite launch.  Analysts say the delegates are likely to appoint the country's new leader, Kim Jong Un, to the post of party general-secretary, previously held by his father Kim Jong Il, who died in December.

The North's announcement of the launch plan came just over two weeks after Pyongyang reached a deal with the United States to suspend operations at its Yongbyon uranium enrichment plant and impose a moratorium on long-range missile tests and nuclear tests in return for 240,000 tons of food aid.

Washington said last week it is suspending plans to start food deliveries as it can no longer trust the North to stick to arrangements on monitoring distribution.

Pyongyang criticized the U.S. move Saturday as an "over-reaction" that would kill the February 29 agreement.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: 李相龙
April 03, 2012 7:07 AM
China also expressed very unhappy.North Korea is just to play the United States.But from another perspective,Why the great powers(especially China and the United States of America ) do not allow small countries launching their own satellites

by: Z
April 02, 2012 4:34 PM
If Russia thinks for a second that the US or any other modern country is going to sit and put up with this B.S. of tit for tat crap tolerence anymore, Almost for the last 60 years now, It now is going to change . People of this world are really tired of the wars being fought indirectly,And you know who you are.Either your part of the problem or you are part of the solution, You Must Decide Now

by: Hoang
April 02, 2012 12:49 PM
I think North Korea is afraid of US & South Korea invade it. If not why US in South Korea for?

by: William
April 02, 2012 8:52 AM
NK is nothing but a bunch of punk thugs and a puppet for china to use as a thorn in the side of the U.S., Don't send one scrap to them let china continue to be their main benefactor and don't consider negotiations with that bunch of despots and i hope the next time they do something stupid that SK retaliates with overwelming force.

by: Steve
April 02, 2012 7:54 AM
As you can tell from the pictures of the new so called leader he has not missed a meal just like his father and grandfather....Make north korea out of a wal-mart parking lot and get it over....It will never change...i was stationed the for 5 years in the late 70's and still the same....A dictator is a dictaor and will never change thinks about him self and nothing about the people in his country....

by: Clay
April 02, 2012 6:50 AM
I guess those could all be propellant tanks, but man, that’s a lot of fuel for one relatively small rocket. Not to say I doubt preps are underway. That’s a fairly robust installation, I’m sure it cost them plenty and they fully intend to use it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs