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North Korea

North Korea halts work to dismantle rocket launch site, says US group 38 North

Satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri indicates ‘no significant dismantlement activity’ has taken place at either the engine test stand or the launch pad since August 3

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 August, 2018, 9:35am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 August, 2018, 9:35am

North Korea appears to have halted dismantling work at a missile engine testing site in the country’s northwest, according to a US research group.

Satellite imagery taken on August 16 of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri indicates “no significant dismantlement activity” has taken place at either the engine test stand or the launch pad since August 3, according to an analysis from 38 North, a group that monitors North Korea.

The analysis underscored Pyongyang’s perceived reluctance to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles despite leader Kim Jong-un’s commitment to “complete” denuclearisation in a historic summit with US President Donald Trump in June in Singapore.

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“At the vertical engine test stand, while significant progress in tearing down the facility was made from July to early August, no new dismantlement activity is apparent since August 3,” the group said.

The components previously removed remain stacked on the ground, it said.

Speaking at a post-summit news conference in Singapore, Trump said Kim promised that Pyongyang would destroy a major missile engine testing site soon, in an apparent reference to Sohae.

The engine test stand at Sohae has been used to test large liquid-fuelled rocket engines, applicable to both intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the United States and large space launch vehicles.