Kim ‘asks for expansion’ of satellite test site capable of ICBM launches

Seoul, Mar 11 (EFE).- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited the satellite launch center that the international community believes Pyongyang uses to test long-range missiles and asked for its expansion and modernization, state media reported Friday.

The visit also comes hours after Washington accused Pyongyang of preparing a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system during its Feb. 26 and Mar. 4 launches, which the regime said was aimed at developing a new “reconnaissance satellite” system.

The note published today by KCNA said that Kim visited the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground and asked for it to be modernized.

“He learned about and evaluated the present state of the ground, and advanced the task to modernize it on an expansion basis so that various rockets could be launched to carry multi-purpose satellites, including a military reconnaissance satellite, in the future,” KCNA said.

“To enable the launch of large carrier rockets,” the note states that Kim assigned tasks to expand the “launching ground zone and the facilities for the general assembly and trial gearing of rocket and for the trial gearing of satellite,” also stating the need for expanding and modernizing the fuel injection and supply facilities, and the launch control center.

There was also talk of “expanding the capacity of the engine ground jet test site” and the construction of a grandstand.

The KCNA story comes hours after the US accusations and a few days after the detection of activity in the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, other facilities that Pyongyang closed in 2018 ahead of the summit that Kim had with former US president Donald Trump.

Washington said that the last two North Korean launches, which the regime said were to develop reconnaissance satellites, were actually experimental precursors to a likely new ICBM system.

Faced with the stagnation of dialogue with the US since 2019, North Korea said in January that it was considering ending its unwritten self-moratorium, announced at the same time as the closures of Sohae and Punggye-ri, on ICBM and atomic tests. EFE


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