N.Korea Continues Ballistic Missile Program

Helen Kang, Nov. 13, 2018, 9:27 a.m.


North Korea continues a ballistic missile program at 16 hidden bases, commercial satellite images show according to the New York Times on Monday.

The images suggest that the North improved more than a dozen missile sites whose existence it has never admitted even as it offered to dismantle one major launch site. The missile bases were identified in a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

In the report titled "Undeclared North Korea," the CSIS singled out a base in Sakkanmol, North Hwanghae Province where it identified the entrances to several underground tunnels and mobile launchers.

The base "conceals seven lengthy tunnels that can accommodate up to 18 transporters that move the missiles. Each is typically fitted with one warhead," the daily said. "The base runs through a narrow mountain valley over an area of three square miles. Each tunnel entrance, the report says, is protected by a neighboring berm of rock and dirt about 60 feet high and two outward-opening doors about 20 feet wide. They are meant to protect the tunnel entrances from artillery fire and aerial attack."

"It's not like these bases have been frozen," Victor Cha at the center told the daily. "Work is continuing."

The Sakkanmol base is about 80 km from the demilitarized zone, and from there the North launched two Scud or Rodong missiles in March 2016, three in July, and three in September into the East Sea.

"The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts [U.S. President Donald] Trump's assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States," the daily commented.

A government source here said the North "is continuing repairs at its hidden missile bases." He added that the regime is also reinforcing protection to prepare for precision attacks from South Korea and the U.S. and is repairing roads so that mobile launchers can move fast and fire ballistic missiles.

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