TROUBLE: Activity at second N. Korean site indicates preparations for Rocket testing

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Following President Donald Trump’s stalemate talks with Kim Jong-Un, it appears North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or rocket, some time soon.  

Earlier this week North Korea sparked outrage after satellite images revealed the nation was ‘rapidly rebuilding’ its Sohae Launch Facility, a long-range missile launch site. 

New images reveal activity may have also resumed at a second site near Pyongyang, known as Sanumdong, where intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-launching rockets  are assembled.

AP

The shocking photos, captured by DigitalGlobe on February 22, show cars and trucks parked near the facility, rail cars ready to go, and two erected cranes.

When you put that all that together, that’s really what it looks like when the North Koreans are in the process of building a rocket,’ Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California said to NPR. 

However he adds it’s not clear if the isolated country is preparing a military missile or a rocket to carry a civilian satellite into space. 

It’s also not clear just when a launch date will be. 

Additional images of Sanumdong snapped on Friday by the company Planet shows that there’s less vehicle activity on the site and one crane has disappeared. It could mean workers have paused their efforts on a missile or rocket or could be waiting for other parts to arrive on site.   

‘According to Planet imagery, I can definitely say the train has left the station. But I can’t unfortunately use X-ray vision to see what’s on the train and tell whether it’s a civilian space launch vehicle or a military ICBM,’ North Korea expert Melissa Hanham said.  

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