Speculation is growing that North Korea is perhaps in preparatory phase to launch a new medium or long range missile.
Going by the satellite images from the GlobalSecurity website, the new Tongchang-ni launch site situated in the North’s west coast near China is ready for use after almost a decade of construction.
Tim Brown, a senior fellow with GlobalSecurity, said that the images show the launch tower which appears to be construction materials on the launch pad.
He speculated the debris may be there to make the pad appear as though it is still under construction.
“The launch pad appears to be operational,” Brown said.
It may be mentioned that the secluded state launched a long-range missile in April and has since carried out a nuclear test and several short-range missile tests.
The news of the suspected launch preparation came as South Korean media reported on Friday of US intentions to implement financial sanctions on Pyongyang in an effort to punish the country over its weapons trading and counterfeit activities.
Warning the North that its actions will “no longer be rewarded”, James Steinberg, the US deputy secretary of state, told Lee Myung-bak, the South Korean president, that “North Korea would be mistaken if it thinks it can make provocations and then get what it wants through negotiation as it did in the past. The US won’t repeat the same mistake again”.
Steinberg, on a four-day visit to Seoul, is accompanied by a senior US treasury official who oversaw previous financial restrictions on the North.