WASHINGTON — North Korea is upgrading one of its two major missile launch sites, apparently to handle much bigger rockets, and some design features suggest it is getting help from Iran, a U.S. research institute said Thursday.
A successful satellite launch in December and a nuclear test on Tuesday, both in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, have intensified concern that North Korea is moving toward its goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on an intercontinental missile.
An analysis written for 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, indicates that North Korea has made significant progress since October in constructing a new launch pad and other facilities at Tonghae, on the country’s northeast coast. The assessment is based on commercial satellite photos, the latest taken in January.
Japan has right to develop pre-emptive strike capability: defense chief
Japan has the right to develop the ability to make a pre-emptive strike against an imminent attack given a changing security environment although it has no plan to do so now, the defence minister said on Thursday, days after North Korea conducted a third nuclear test.
Any sign that Japan was moving to develop such a capability in response to North Korea’s nuclear program could upset neighbors China and South Korea, which have reacted strongly in the past to suggestions it might do so.
“When an intention to attack Japan is evident, the threat is imminent, and there are no other options, Japan is allowed under the law to carry out strikes against enemy targets,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told Reuters in an interview.
“Given Japan’s political environment and the peace-oriented diplomacy it has observed, this is not the time to make preparations for building such capability. But we need to carefully observe the changing security environment in the region.”
Reset Button II: Kerry Can’t Get Russia to Return His Phone Calls as North Korea Tests Nuke
South Korea is reinforcing its defence against North Korea including executing a new warfare plan against its weapons of mass destruction and deploying new cruise missiles capable of striking any North Korean location, officials said Wednesday.
The Defence Ministry said it would unveil the new long-range missiles within the week.
“We have developed and deployed a cruise missile system with world-class precision and destructive force that can strike any location in North Korea,” Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.
The plan was unveiled one day after the North conducted a third nuclear test which highlighted the critical gap in its defence between the two Koreas.
Moscow concerned over deployment of South Korean missiles
North Korea tells China it is prepared for fresh nuclear test: Source
BEIJING: North Korea has told its key ally, China, that it is prepared to stage one or even two more nuclear tests this year in an effort to force the United States into diplomatic talks with Pyongyang, said a source with direct knowledge of the message.
Further tests could also be accompanied this year by another rocket launch, said the source who has direct access to the top levels of government in both Beijing and Pyongyang.
Iranian scientists believed to have attended North Korean nuclear test, report says