03/06/2019, 09.30
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Seoul is certain: Kim Jong-un is rebuilding a missile site

Two US organizations confirm. Satellite images show the "rapid reconstruction". Work was also under way during the second Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - North Korea is restoring an auxiliary building in the Sohae polygon, in Dongchang-ri. Located along the north-west coast of the country, the launching station for satellites and long-range missiles was partly dismantled last year. The South Korean agency Yonhap, which cites government sources in Seoul, published news of the discovery.

Beyond Parallel, a project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, yesterday declared that satellite images show the "rapid reconstruction" pursued by Pyongyang. According to analysts, this could be a move by the regime to show "resolve" in the face of the US refusal to lift economic sanctions on missile and atomic bomb tests.

In the awaited second Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi, Washington did not accept what Riongong-san, Foreign Minister of Pyongyang, called "realistic proposals". These included the complete decommissioning of the Yongbyon nuclear power plant, as well as the interruption of tests on atomic bombs and long-range missiles. In return, the regime wanted "a partial lifting of sanctions, which hinder the civil economy and the livelihood of our people".

The Yonhap source reports that Pyongyang began to demolish the rocket assembly station, a launching pad and the railway that connected them in June 2018; the North Korean government suspended operations the following month and recently there were indications that the plant was being restored.

According to rumors, the North began to dismantle the missile site while US President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong-un met for their first summit in Singapore. Last June, in the city-state the two leaders agreed to work on the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, albeit with little clarity on how to achieve the goal.

During his third summit in Pyongyang with Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, last September Kim proposed to finally dismantle the engine test facility and a launch pad in Dongchang-ri, in the presence of international experts.

Beyond Parallel cites "obvious" activities at the engine test field and the rocket transfer facility at the launch pad. "This structure - say the experts - was inactive since August 2018, indicating that the current activity is intentional and proactive."

38 North, a US internet site that monitors North Korea, said efforts to rebuild the facilities began between February 16 and March 2. Yesterday, the Seoul National Intelligence Service reported to the National Assembly Committee that the North is building a roof and a door to the Dongchang-ri facility, evidence of restoration work.

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