According to the Washington-based think-tank report, North Korea’s expanding ballistic missile program has been closely linked to a new facility near Pyongyang International Airport.
Commercial satellite imagery shows that there is a huge facility adjacent an underground structure which could be accommodating a large North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that has been cited by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). experts believe that missiles may strike anywhere in the United States.
According to further CSIS reports, which have been published on May 5th (Tuesday) since 2016, the facility has been under construction and includes several outstanding features, including a very large covered rail terminal with several interconnected buildings to allow for direct access to the site. The ballistic missile component manufacturing plants in the Pyongyang area is also close by the purported facility location.
The report also stated, “ Taken as a whole, these characteristics suggest that this facility is likely designed to support ballistic missile operations ,” with the report also naming it the Sil-li Ballistic Missile Support Facility.
In Beijing, the North Korean embassy could not immediately react to comment on the report. On Wednesday at a regular briefing in Seoul the spokesperson for South Korea’s Unification Ministry stated when asked about the report, “It would be inappropriate to comment”.
After working-level meetings with the United States have collapsed last year the negotiations aimed at disassembling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have been at a standstill.
During a failed summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S President Donald Trump held in Vietnam, North Korea offered to disassemble its Yongbyon nuclear complex in return for the revocation of five key U.N resolutions. North Korea declared that it has shut down its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in 2018.
In the absence of a denuclearisation deal, North Korea has continued to expand its arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, experts and U.S officials have stated.
A warning of them rethinking its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapons tests and ICBM launches have also been said by North Korea during the recent months.
According to the CSIS report, the facility is located on the southwest corner of Pyongyang International Airport – approximately 17km (10 miles) northwest of North Korean capital – the Sil-li facility encompasses approximately 442,300 square meters (4.76 million square feet).
The report also states that due to the height and size of the building, the facility is large enough to even accommodate a Hwasong-15 intercontinental missile that is elevated. Therefore the facility would have the capacity to launch the entirety of every missile variant known to be at the disposal of the North Koreans.
On Saturday North and South Korea exchanged gunfire around a rural guard post, further heightening tension within the region. This event comes after North Korean state-ran media aired a visit by Kim Jung-il visiting a factory which was also the first report of the North Korean leader making a public appearance since April 11th.
Multiple short-ranged anti-ship cruise missiles were launched into the sea on April 14 by North Korea, these exercises were also joined by North Korean Sukhoi jets firing air-to-surface missiles.