Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Korea destroys missile test stand: 38 North

Korea destroys missile test stand: 38 North

A U.S. Web site monitoring North Korea says that the country destroyed some key facilities used for testing ballistic missiles last month after declaring it was suspending nuclear tests and missile launches.

Solid-fuel missiles can be fired at shorter notice and more discreetly than those powered by liquid fuel.

It comes after the hermit kingdom blew up at least part of Punggye-ri, its underground nuclear testing site, last month. The Pukguksong-2 is a remodeled submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Analysis of commercial satellite images by experts at 38 North, the website operated by a Washington-based think tank, shows that the concrete pad for the test stand has been broken up, as have impact pads, access ramps, a support tower for launches and command buildings.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Saturday watched the test of a new surface-to-air interceptor guided weapon system, the official [North] Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday, cited by Chosun Ilbo.This was presumed to be a new KN-06 surface-to-air missile the North tested for the first time in April past year.

North Korea is asking the USA to end "hostile policies" towards North Korea in exchange for denuclearisation, though Kim has not yet made it clear exactly what either of those steps would entail.

North Korea is suspected to have started the removal of test stands for its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program, based on analysis of new satellite images of the missile test sites, according to a website affiliated with a USA think tank.

The site was used to conduct the first launch of the Pugkuksong-2 medium-range ballistic missile on February 13, 2017.

The site could also have been adapted to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the Hwasong-15, which North Korea claims is capable of hitting the whole of the continental United States with a nuclear weapon.

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