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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Joel Wit
North Korea has stopped construction work at a site meant to launch bigger and better long-range rockets, a possible sign that Pyongyang is slowing or even halting development of larger rockets, according to a new analysis of recent satellite imagery.
North Korea's nuclear test last month wasn't just a show of defiance and national pride; it also serves as advertising. The target audience, analysts say, is anyone in the world looking to buy nuclear material.
North Korea’s belligerent rhetoric — which has included a threat to conduct a third nuclear test and launch more long-range rockets — and its description of the United States as a “sworn enemy” should compel the Obama administration to rethink its policy toward the secretive, Stalinist nation, analysts say.
New satellite images of a North Korean rocket launch site show a mobile radar trailer and rows of what appears to be empty fuel and oxidizer tanks, evidence of ramped-up preparation for what Washington calls a cover for a long-range missile test.
Japan's defense minister said Friday he had issued an order to shoot down a North Korean rocket if it threatens the nation's territory, a planned launch that has raised global alarm bells.
"Concerns that North Korea could conduct a fourth nuclear test are justified given continuing excavation at the site. Pyongyang is probably making sure it is prepared although when another detonation might happen remains entirely unclear," said Joel Wit, a former State Department official and editor of 38 North.
"Pyongyang clearly has plans to further develop its long-range rockets in the future," said Joel Wit, a former State Department official and editor of 38 North. "If it is indeed building a new flat launch pad, that would be a significant sign that the North is serious about testing and deploying new mobile missiles, possibly including an intercontinental ballistic missile spotted in recent military parades."