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N. Korea appears to have altered launch pad fuel/oxidizer bunker: 38 North

2018/10/11 16:25

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SEOUL, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears to have altered part of a launch pad at a key missile test site on the country's west coast that it has pledged to dismantle as part of its denuclearization commitment, 38 North, a U.S. website monitoring the communist state, has said.

Based on its review of commercial satellite imagery from spring to fall this year, the website noted "activity beyond the previously reported dismantlement steps" taken at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, also known as Dongchang-ri.

"Specifically, the North Koreans appear to have also altered the original roof of the fuel/oxidizer structure/bunker at the launch pad," the website said in an analysis posted on Wednesday.

But it said that the limited image resolution precludes determining whether the activity is just a structural modification or an additional step towards implementing Pyongyang's pledge to dismantle the facility.

The website also pointed out that if confirmed by further activity, dismantlement of the fuel/oxidizer bunkers would be "another important step" in fulfilling Pyongyang's pledge.

During his third summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged to shut down a key missile engine test facility and launch pad in the presence of experts and close the main Yongbyon nuclear complex should the United States take "corresponding measures."

   sshluck@yna.co.kr

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