Satellite imagery shows that North Korea has been destroying a missile test stand in the wake of its leader's pledge to suspend testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, a US website showed Wednesday.
Satellite imagery shows the Iha-ri missile launch site, located north of the city of Kusong, was dismantled some time before May 19.
A week later, North Korea demolished its only known nuclear test site in the country's northeastern province in an event witnessed by foreign journalists from the United States, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea on May 24. The Pukguksong-2 is a remodeled submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The stand was the regime's only known facility for land-based, ... canister-launched ballistic missile ejection tests. deemed critical to developing a medium-range solid-fuel ballistic missile.
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His analysis was published by 38 North, a Washington-based website which tracks developments in the isolated nation's weapons programs.
In April, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that his country no longer needs to conduct nuclear tests or test-firing of medium- and long-range missiles as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles.
North Korea tracker 38 North cited satellite imagery from May 19, showing much of the test stand structures had been removed, including the concrete launch pad and adjacent support infrastructures. "The test is successful", he added.The North has focused on improving the KN-06 because of the poor capabilities of its surface-to-air missiles in intercepting South Korean and U.S. Air Force jets that could strike mobile launcher vehicles and command posts.
The group says that it's unclear if this shows Pyongyang is suspending this aspect of its missile program or intends to erect similar facilities in the future. The statement was seen as the first step toward North's denuclearization.