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N. Korea destroys missile test stand: 38 North

2018/06/07 04:55

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WASHINGTON, June 6 (Yonhap) -- Satellite imagery shows that North Korea has been destroying a missile test stand in the wake of its leader's pledge to suspend testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, a U.S. website showed Wednesday.

According to 38 North, the stand was the only known facility for land-based, canister-launched ballistic missile ejection tests, which are critical for developing medium-range solid fuel ballistic missiles.

Solid fuel missiles can be fired at shorter notice and more discreetly than those powered by liquid fuel.

The website, which monitors developments inside the reclusive regime, also said the stand could have been used to test larger canister-based ballistic missiles such as the intercontinental ballistic missiles unveiled in April 2017.

The facility is near the northwestern city of Kusong.

Work to demolish the stand began in the second week of May and was almost complete in satellite imagery from May 19, according to the website.

"It is unclear whether the destruction of the stand is an indication that the North is suspending this portion of its missile program or that Pyongyang plans to erect other similar facilities in the future," it noted. "A search of the Kusong area using the May 19 image reveals no new construction that can be directly tied to a new test stand."

   In May North Korea demolished tunnels and other facilities at its only known nuclear test site.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump are set to meet in Singapore Tuesday to discuss the full dismantlement of the North's weapons of mass destruction program.

Pyongyang, in return, is believed to be seeking security guarantees for its regime.

hague@yna.co.kr

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