Satellite photos show DPRK may be rebuilding launch site

World Today

President Donald Trump meets DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

New satellite images suggest the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is rebuilding a rocket launch site it agreed to shut down.

The news comes just days after the Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit ended abruptly in Hanoi without any agreement.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

New satellite photos appear to show the DPRK rapidly rebuilding a shuttered missile launch facility.

According to the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, analysts said components of the launch site are now active and construction equipment can be seen around several buildings.

The Sohae facility had been used for missile launches since 2012. Satellite imagery showed Pyongyang dismantling the location in the summer of 2018 as denuclearization talks were underway. The newest photos show rebuilding within the last week, just days after the Hanoi summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un ended without an agreement.

“I will be very disappointed if that were happening. It’s a very early report, we are the ones that put it out, but I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim. I don’t think I will be but we’ll take a look. One way or another it will get solved,” said U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House Wednesday.

Separate from the apparent activity at Sohae, the U.N. nuclear watchdog group said activity has been observed at the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

“At the Light Water Reactor, the Agency saw indications of ongoing construction work. We also continued to observe indications of the ongoing use of the reported centrifuge enrichment facility, “said Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency

But the I.A.E.A. said there is no evidence the reactor at Yongbyon has been operational since December. The DPRK has not launched a missile or conducted a nuclear test since 2017.

China is pushing for the U.S. and DPRK to resume talks.

“In fact, people can see that since last year, the DPRK has taken a series of positive measures on denuclearization. We think that these measures should be recognized and encouraged. Under the current situation, we hope that all related parties can take the right approach to resolving the Korean peninsula issue through political dialogue and by meeting each other halfway,” said Lu Kang, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman.

Rodger Baker on activity at DPRK launch site

Satelitte images suggest the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is rebuilding a rocket launch site it agreed to shut down. Rodger Baker is Vice President of Strategic Analysis at Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence platform. He spoke with CGTN’s John Terrett about the site and diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula.