Satellite images suggest North Korea developing long-range missiles
North Korea is reportedly pressing ahead with the development of long-range missiles, according to an analysis of satellite images by a US academic website.
Drawing on commercial satellite imagery, the website 38 North suggested that the reclusive North Korean regime has carried out at least two tests of large rocket motors at the Sohae Satellite Launch Station on the country's west coast since April.
The test of a large rocket motor took place in mid-September, according to the analysis posted Monday by 38 North, which is run by the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, CNN reports.
"These tests, critical for the development of new rockets, appear to have been of liquid-fueled, first stage engines" for the type of satellite launch vehicle that failed in April or a new long-range missile that was on show at a parade in Pyongyang this year", 38 North said.
Another big rocket launch would further sour North Korea's relations with the United States and South Korea, the report said.
It also drew condemnation from the U.N. Security Council, which has repeatedly demanded Pyongyang not to carry out similar tests in the future.
"In the aftermath of the U.S. and South Korean presidential elections, Pyongyang may embark on a new round of activities in the first half of 2013, including rocket and nuclear tests that will contribute to further development of its nuclear deterrent," the website said.
The website said it had previously reported indications that North Korea was working on such a rocket.
The analysis of the satellite pictures for 38 North was provided by Nick Hansen, who has specialized in image technology during a 43-year career in intelligence for the U.S. military and private sector, the report added.