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No significant activity at N.K. missile site: U.S. monitor

North Korea 01:42 May 17, 2019

WASHINGTON, May 16 (Yonhap) -- No new activity has been observed around key facilities at a North Korean missile site, but construction continues elsewhere in the complex, a U.S. monitor said Thursday.

38 North, a project of the Stimson Center think tank, said commercial satellite imagery from May 10 shows no movement around the engine test stand or launch pad at the Dongchang-ri site since March 8.

"However, low levels of activity have been observed at other areas that suggest continued improvements to the complex," it said.

The complex, also known as the Sohae satellite launching station, was the focus of intense scrutiny after satellite imagery in March suggested the engine test stand and launch pad were being restored to normal operational status following their partial dismantlement last year.

News of the recovery emerged after the collapse of the February summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

38 North said construction of new workshops or engineering areas at the "Horizontal Assembly Building" were first observed in September and that the roofs appeared to have been completed by April 18.

"Interior work may be ongoing, and material and debris remain in the courtyards and block the exit," it said.

The monitor also pointed to a white vehicle, likely a passenger van, which was first observed on March 2 and remains in place at the Observation and Telemetry Building.

The building is on a hilltop 700 meters southeast of the launch pad and records data from space launch vehicles as they fly overhead.

"While the purpose of this vehicle's presence is unknown, it is likely that improvements are being made to the computers and recording equipment in the support building," 38 North said.

hague@yna.co.kr
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