Report: N. Korea May Be Preparing Missile or Space Launch

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2019-03-09

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There are indications North Korea may be preparing for a missile or space launch, National Public Radio is reporting. The U.S. news outlet said an analysis of satellite images of the Sanumdong facility near Pyongyang reveal the presence of trucks, cars, rail cars and cranes.

"When you put all that together, that's really what it looks like when the North Koreans are in the process of building a rocket," said Jeffrey Lewis, a researcher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

Lewis has studied the images, which were provided by DigitalGlobe, a U.S. commercial provider of space and earth imagery.

This development comes on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump saying he would be "very disappointed" if North Korea is resuming nuclear testing after his recent meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Trump made the comments to reporters Friday as he prepared to travel to Alabama to view tornado damage. He said he has greatly improved U.S. relations with North Korea during his time in office.

"Look, when I came in," he said, "under the Obama administration, North Korea was a disaster. You were going to war, folks, whether you know it or not. ... I inherited a mess."

He continued, "Right now you have no testing, you have no nothing. Let's see what happens, but I would be very disappointed if I saw testing."

Trump and Kim met last week in Vietnam in a summit meant to reach an agreement on North Korean denuclearization. But the meeting broke down over an impasse over how many sites North Korea would shut down.

Following the summit, South Korean newspapers reported there was evidence of new activity at the Sohae long-range rocket site, a site Kim agreed last year to shut down as part of confidence-building measures with the United States.

North Korean state media acknowledged the failed meeting for the first time Friday, saying the people of North Korea blame the United States for the collapse of the talks.