N. Korea ‘missile launch’ plans under scrutiny as concern mounts
Seoul (AFP) March 11, 2019 –
South Korea’s military said Monday it was closely monitoring North Korean facilities after a series of satellite images triggered international alarm that Pyongyang might be preparing a long-range missile or space launch.
Any launch would send the stuttering talks on denuclearisation into disarray, after a high-stakes second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un collapsed last month without a deal.
But some analysts suggest the North might be stage-managing activity at certain key sites, to stoke concern and secure “better terms” when the two sides next meet.
Washington wants what administration officials have called a “big deal”, with the complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction in return for the dropping of sanctions that have strangled the isolated North’s economy.
North Korea favours a more step-by-approach, with Kim proposing dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for lifting the main sanctions — a notion Trump refused in Hanoi despite the vaunted “chemistry” between the pair.
“The North could be trying to show the US it can always turn back to aggressive posture by rebuilding missile sites in order to gain leverage in future talks, but without actually firing a missile or rocket,” said Cheong Seong-Chang, a senior researcher at the private Sejong Institute.
“It is hard to rule out the possibility of a rocket launch at the Sohae station at this point as North Korea has proven time and time again it can do unexpected things.”
– ‘All possible scenarios’ –
Satellite analysis now indicates increased activity at two key sites — the Samundong missile research facility and the Sohae rocket launch centre.
Located on the outskirts of Pyongyang, Samundong was built in 2012 to support development of long-range missiles and space-launch vehicles.
As well as developing the Hawsong-15 ICBM, which analysts agree is capable of reaching the whole …read more
From:: Nuke Wars – Spacewar.com