‘N Korea begins dismantling N-test site’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 25 Jul 2018 10:21:56


 

By Lalit K Jha,


WASHINGTON,

NORTH Korea has begun dismantling key facilities at a site used to develop engines for ballistic missiles, according to an analysis of satellite imagery, the first significant step towards denuclearisation following the last month’s historic summit between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. The Sohae Satellite Launching Station has been the main site for North Korean satellite launches since 2012. The testing facilities at the site are thought to play a role in the development of liquid-fuel engines that can also be used in North Korea’s ballistic missile programme.


The images published by 38 North, a US-based website focused on North Korea that is affiliated with the Stimson Center in Washington, were taken on July 20 and July 22, respectively.


New commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae station indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities, the 38 North said in a report. If the analysis of the satellite imagery is accurate, North Korea may be taking a small but significant step toward the disarmament that was agreed upon by the North Korean leader and President Trump during a landmark meeting in Singapore on June 12, it said. Most notably, these include the rail-mounted processing building—where space launch vehicles are assembled before moving them to the launch pad—and the nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles, the 38 North said.


Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile programme, these efforts represent a significant confidence building measure on the part of North Korea, the North Korea-focused website said. Noting that considerable progress has been made in dismantling the rail-mounted processing/transfer structure, it said one corner has been completely dismantled and the parts can be seen lying on the ground.