Ac­tiv­ity at North Korean rocket site fu­els con­cerns

The Myanmar Times - - World -

ANAL­Y­SIS pub­lished yes­ter­day of re­cent satel­lite im­ages fu­elled con­cerns that North Korea may be on the brink of an­other nu­clear test or long-range rocket launch.

Spec­u­la­tion that Py­ongyang is pre­par­ing such a show of force has been linked to to­day’s an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the North’s rul­ing Work­ers’ Party.

Past nu­clear tests and mis­sile launches have of­ten co­in­cided with key po­lit­i­cal dates. Its fifth nu­clear test last month was con­ducted on the an­niver­sary of North Korea’s found­ing as a state.

The lat­est satel­lite imagery anal­y­sis posted by the US-Korea In­sti­tute at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity noted in­creased ac­tiv­ity at the North’s So­hae satel­lite launch sta­tion.

The pic­tures taken on Oc­to­ber 1 showed crates on the launch pad next to the gantry tower, ve­hi­cles near the fuel and ox­i­diser build­ings, and work con­tin­u­ing on the fa­cil­ity’s ver­ti­cal en­gine test stand.

“How­ever, since both the gantry tower and the as­sem­bly struc­tures on the launch pad are cov­ered, it is un­clear whether this ac­tiv­ity is re­lated to launch prepa­ra­tions or other op­er­a­tions,” the an­a­lysts noted.

Yes­ter­day marked 10 years to the day that North Korea car­ried out its first nu­clear test on Oc­to­ber 9, 2006 – an un­der­ground det­o­na­tion with such a low yield that it was widely seen as a fail­ure.

But the North’s weapons pro­gram has pro­gressed in leaps and bounds since then and has ac­cel­er­ated un­der cur­rent leader Kim Jong-un.

Since tak­ing power fol­low­ing the death of his fa­ther Kim Jong-il in late 2011, Mr Kim has over­seen three nu­clear tests – two of them in this year alone. –

“We put our cit­i­zens’ safety first. Be­sides, we want to put an end to the dam­age that is be­ing car­ried out against in­fra­struc­ture projects, health cen­tres, ad­min­is­tra­tion and jus­tice build­ings,” he said on state media.

Ethiopia is fac­ing its big­gest antigov­ern­ment un­rest in a decade, from the ma­jor­ity Oromo and Amhara eth­nic groups which feel marginalised by a mi­nor­ity-led gov­ern­ment. –

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