Satellite images obtained by CNN show that North Korea has greatly expanded one of their long-range missile bases.
The images are of the Yeongjeo-dong missile base in the mountains, according to CNN. A nearby site and this site have both been active recently, as seen in images that also show them going through continuous upgrades. It’s a visual reminder that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is making good on his promise to mass-produce nuclear weapons.
The Yeongjeo-dong base is known to U.S. intelligence, but there appears to be a new facility about seven miles away that has been undergoing recent construction. The new site has been “significantly expanded” in the last year, according to the Middlebury Institute. This is an independent research group that identified the activity. From images, this unknown site appears to be another missile base.
The site is “extremely large,” and still under construction as of August 2018. Construction continued even after Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un met in June.
“Whatever Kim says about his desire for denuclearization, North Korea continues to produce and deploy nuclear-armed missiles,” said Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute, who was one of the analysts who identified the site on satellite images.
The base, located near North Korea's border with China, is believed to be capable of housing long-range missiles that could, in theory, hit the United States. Researchers say they see clear signs that the base is being upgraded. https://t.co/vpibz8cxJ7— NPR (@NPR) December 6, 2018
“We watch North Korea very closely. We continue to support the diplomatic process. We will not discuss matters of intelligence,” Lt. Col. Chris Logan, speaking for the Pentagon, told reporters who asked about this development.
The State Department declined to comment on the story, other than to say that they will not discuss matters of intelligence.
According to National Security Adviser John Bolton, Donald Trump is thinking about having a second summit with the North Korean leader. Previously, Kim Jong-un agreed to dismantle some testing facility sites in North Korea and publicly stated in January that he will continue to produce existing types of nuclear-armed missiles.
The base is near the North Korea-China border, according to NPR. Senior research associate Catherine Dill was quoted as saying that the North Koreans are “constructing hardened drive-through shelters for the vehicles that would carry the long-range missile,” while also creating tunnel entrances.
Last year, North Korea tested long-range missiles that could reach the entire continental United States. The same year, a nuclear weapon test was conducted.
This is the second missile base in North Korea to be identified recently by independent researchers. A different group identified an active missile base, previously unknown to the public, last month. This base, however, is believed to house short-range missiles.