Satellite image captured on April 1st (top), developments made on missile production site on June 29th (bottom)
North Korea appears to be strengthening its military power
rather than working towards disarmament.
About a week ago, a research group dedicated to analysis of
North Korea released satellite images that suggest North Korea is making major improvements
to its main nuclear research facility in Yongbyon.
The recent reports suggest North Korea is expanding its weapons
production while constructing a submarine capable of launching ballistic
The new satellite images released this week show that North
Korea is in its final stage of expanding a ballistic missile manufacturing
site, further substantiating many experts’ claim that Trump-Kim summit was
merely a “photo op to gain media attention.”
The newly released satellite images were captured by Planet
Labs Inc., an Earth imaging company based in San Francisco, and have been
analyzed by researchers at Middlebury Institute for International Studies.
A missile manufacturing site captured in the images has been
identified as Chemical Material Institute located in Hamhung, the second largest
city in North Korea.
According to the researchers, Chemical Material Institute is
currently developing solid-fuel ballistic missiles. A liquid-fueled missile
requires meticulous preparation for it to be launched. A solid-fueled missile,
on the other hand, could be fired at any moment.
The Wall Street
Journal reported, “New building didn't appear to begin in earnest until
April this year, around the time Mr. Kim shook hands with South Korean
President Moon Jae-in in a landmark summit meeting at the inter-Korean border,
according to a series of satellite images. The bulk of construction took place
in May and June.”
On Thursday, July 5th, Yonhap News Agency reported that North Korea is developing a new
submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles. The news came from a former
chairman of the parliamentary defense committee of South Korea, Representative Kim
Representative Kim said that the North is constructing a submarine
in the Sinpo shipyard, located on the coast of the East Sea of Korea, and that the
North is operating most of its facilities as usual.
Representative Kim pointed out that while South Korea has
suspended its joint military exercises with the U.S. as a gesture of good will
and a show of good faith, “nothing has changed in North Korea.”
North Korea has promised to denuclearize numerous times
since 1985. <Alex Kim>