Satellite pics ‘show North Korea has built a monument at notorious missile testing site where Kim Jong-un’s regime first launched deadly mid-range ballistic weapon’

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KIM Jong-un has reportedly built a monument at one of his regime’s notorious former missile launch sites, new satellite images appear to show.

The North Korean dictator appears to have ordered construction of the commemorative structure where his military first test-launched its deadly Pukguksong-2 missile in 2017.

Before and after: The dismantled site last year, left, and the new structure in a more recent satellite image
Digital Globe / Twitter
The structure appears similar to other North Korean monuments, with a large square plinth surrounded by steps
Digital Globe / Twitter

The Iha-ri complex, in the northwest of the country, had been used to test-fire the mid-range ballistic weapon – which could travel up to 1,200 miles.

Kim reportedly ordered the site be dismantled last year, according to an analysis published by 38 North – a prominent North Korea monitoring group.

Satellite pictures taken on 19 May 2018 showed many of the structures – including impact pads and a support structure that holds up a missile – had been razed.

But now, fresh images appear to show the construction of a monument at the edge of the site.

Although it is unclear what the structure is, it appears to fit the pattern of other North Korean statues – with a square central plinth seemingly surrounded by steps.

MEMORIAL ‘TO TEST LAUNCH’

The images were detected by Nathan Hunt, a “geospatial intelligence expert” who specialises in North Korean missile sites.

He posted the pics on Twitter with the caption: “It looks like DPRK put up a small monument at location pukguksong-2 was first tested and showcased.”

The site was believed to have been used for the development of the Pukguksong-2 – one of North Korea’s solid-fuelled medium-range ballistic missiles.

Solid fuelled missiles are easier to transport because liquid fuel is more volatile.

SITE DISMANTLED

Experts say North Korea is aware of how intensely its activities are scrutinised via satellite imagery and has been known to factor that into their decision making.

The Iha-ri dismantlement came after Kim agreed to stop testing missiles – while engaging in dialogue with South Korea in March last year.


The following month he said his country would no longer test nuclear weapons because it had already successfully developed them.

Journalists, including a team from CNN, were invited to watch the North Koreans blow up the tunnels and some of the buildings at the Punggye-ri test site in May 2018 – but no nuclear experts witnessed the event.

US President Donald Trump is set to meet face-to-face with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam later this month.

AP:Associated Press

The Pukguksong-2 missile has a range of up to 1,200 miles[/caption]

38north.org

Part of the Iha-ri complex, in the northwest of the country, when it was in full operation[/caption]

EPA

Kim Jong-Un and military leaders watch a test launch of the Pukguksong-2 missile[/caption]

Reuters

Kim Jong Un celebrates the test launch of the missile at the Iha-ri site[/caption]

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A fleet of Pukguksong-2 missiles is paraded through Pyongyang[/caption]

EPA

Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump met in Singapore last year. They are due to meet again in Vietnam later this month[/caption]

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