News / Asia

No Work at North Korean Launch Site for 8 Months: Analysts

This May 26, 2013 satellite image taken by Astrium, and annotated and distributed by 38 North shows an unfinished new missile assembly building, top left, and control center, top right, at the Tonghae facility in North Korea. (AP Photo/Astrium - 38 North)
This May 26, 2013 satellite image taken by Astrium, and annotated and distributed by 38 North shows an unfinished new missile assembly building, top left, and control center, top right, at the Tonghae facility in North Korea. (AP Photo/Astrium - 38 North)
VOA News
New satellite photos suggest construction work has been halted for the last eight months at a key North Korean launch site intended to test bigger and more advanced rockets.

The 38 North research institute says North Korea had been making rapid progress on building a launch pad, control center, and missile assembly building at the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground on the northeast coast.

This May 26, 2013 satellite image taken by Astrium, and annotated and distributed by 38 North shows an unfinished new launch pad, center, at the Tonghae facility in North Korea. (AP Photo/Astrium - 38 North)This May 26, 2013 satellite image taken by Astrium, and annotated and distributed by 38 North shows an unfinished new launch pad, center, at the Tonghae facility in North Korea. (AP Photo/Astrium - 38 North)
x
This May 26, 2013 satellite image taken by Astrium, and annotated and distributed by 38 North shows an unfinished new launch pad, center, at the Tonghae facility in North Korea. (AP Photo/Astrium - 38 North)
This May 26, 2013 satellite image taken by Astrium, and annotated and distributed by 38 North shows an unfinished new launch pad, center, at the Tonghae facility in North Korea. (AP Photo/Astrium - 38 North)
​Commercial satellite images taken late last year showed that construction mysteriously stopped. The U.S.-based institute initially said the projects may have been temporarily stopped due to heavy rains and typhoons.

But it said Tuesday the latest imagery shows that work has still not resumed, as of late May. The photos even appear to show grass growing inside the foundation of the missile assembly building.

38 North says the stoppage may indicate the North has decided to slow or even halt development of larger rockets. Or, it said Pyongyang may have decided testing could take place at the newer Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

In December, North Korea successfully sent what it said was a weather satellite into space using a Unha-3 rocket that was launched from the Sohae facility, which is also known as Tonchang-ri.

The United States and others condemned the move as a disguised long-range missile test that North Korea is banned from conducting under United Nations sanctions on its nuclear weapons program.

Many fear the successful orbital space launch, which followed many unsuccessful attempts, was a breakthrough in the North's stated goal of being able to deliver an intercontinental ballistic missile to the U.S. mainland.

North Korea has also said advances in its rocket technology are necessary in order to help develop the country's economy and technology industry, a notion that analysts have questioned.

The December rocket launch, as well as North Korea's third nuclear test in February, set in motion a series of events that led to heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Those tensions, which included threats of nuclear war by the North, have since died down, and North Korea has offered to engage in talks with Washington. But Pyongyang has given no sign it is willing to make concessions on its weapons program.

38 North said the reason for the construction stoppage at Tonghae remains unclear. But it said if work resumes now, the facility may not be complete until 2017 - at least a year behind an estimate of the North's original schedule.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid