North Korea news: Satellite images show Kim Jong-un ‘preparing’ rocket test | World | News


Dramatic pictures have surfaced from the naval shipyard in the port city of Nampo and appears to show an underwater barge – typically used to test missiles fired from a submarine. Aerial shots taken by space firm Maxar suggest extensive maintenance work has been carried out in recent months at the port located in the South Pyongan Province.

One satellite picture dated December 31 appears to show a barge has been strategically moved to a different location since November.

The new base is thought to be able to increase the range of a ballistic missile.

The move comes as Chairman Kim presses ahead increasing his arsenal of weapons and nuclear weapons programme.

Relations between North Korea and the West have deteriorated in recent years, despite three historic meetings between Kim Jong-un and outgoing US President Donald Trump.

North Korea has since moved away from commitments made in 2018 to curb its nuclear capabilities.

US weapons experts Jeffrey Lewis and David Schmerler analysed the latest satellite images and warned North Korea is set to press ahead with further missile tests once Mr Trump leaves the White House.

Mr Trump will formally be replaced by Joe Biden as US President later today and relations with North Korea will be a priority for the new administration.

Mr Lewis and Mr Schmerler said: ”As Trump leaves office, North Korea has been taking steps to abandon the moratorium that Kim renounced last year.

“Kim’s public declarations that missile testing will resume in the coming year appear to coincide with physical preparations to resume flight tests of intermediate and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles.”

Just last week, Chairman Kim unveiled his new submarine-launched ballistic missile during a military parade in Pyongyang.

The Pukguksong-5 weapon has been described by state TV as “the world’s most powerful weapon”.

Antony Blinken, who is set to become US Secretary of State, has said the Biden administration will review its foreign policy towards North Korea and warned relations have got “worse”.

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Mr Jae-in has previously offered to be a mediator between Pyongyang and Washington.

He said the Presidency of Mr Biden could be a “turning point” for relations and called on both sides to forget recent developments and continue on from promising talks held between Mr Trump and Chairman Kim in Singapore in June 2018.

The pair had discussed curbing nuclear weapons and sanctions in North Korea, with Mr Trump declaring the first summit a “great success”.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Moon said: “The inauguration of the Biden administration would provide a turning point to newly start US-North Korea dialogue, South-North dialogue, to inherit the achievements that were made under the Trump administration.

“The dialogues can pick up the pace if we restart from the Singapore declaration and seek concrete measures in the negotiations.”

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