Satellite imagery suggests that North Korea might be taking steps to renew a partially decommissioned long-range rocket test site on the country’s west coast.
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., a senior fellow for imagery analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told NPR that there is some evidence that can be seen from satellite images that workers are rebuilding at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.
“We’ve seen a remarkably quick rebuilding,” he said.
The Sohae facility, also referred to as Dongchang-ri and Tongchang-ri, is the site from which North Korea attempted satellite launches in 2012 and 2016. It’s also the location of a test stand that Pyongyang has used to fire some of its rocket engines on the ground. Sohae has figured prominently in the ongoing talks between North Korea and the United States, as after the first US-North Korea summit in Singapore last June Trump had said that Kim had given his word that he would close “a major missile-engine testing site.” Kim later followed up with an official announcement that he was closing Sohae, referring to it as Dongchang-ri, during a summit in September with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.