North Korea is pursuing the “rapid rebuilding” of the long-range rocket site at Sohae Launch Facility, according to new commercial imagery and an analysis from the researchers at Beyond Parallel.
Sohae Satellite Launching Station, North Korea’s only operational space launch facility, has been used in the past for satellite launches. These launches use similar technology to what is used for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“This renewed activity, taken just two days after the inconclusive Hanoi Summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, may indicate North Korean plans to demonstrate resolve in the face of U.S. rejection of North Korea’s demands at the summit to lift five U.N. Security Council sanction enacted in 2016-2017,” the analysts said. As NBC News reported, Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently identified 20 undisclosed missile sites in North Korea.
Beyond Parallel reports the activity at Sohae, photographed March 2, is “evident at the vertical engine test stand and the launch pad’s rail-mounted rocket transfer structure.”
“The activity they are undertaking now is consistent with preparations for a test, though the imagery thus far does not show a missile being moved to the launch pad,” Victor Cha, one of the authors of the report, said.
“The activity on the ground,” Cha said, “shows us that they do have a (nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile) capability that is not just developmental, but in the prototype phase. They’ve already tested a few of these and it looks like they’re preparing the launch pad for another act.”
Asked for comment, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “We don’t comment on intelligence.”