Photos of Kim Jong Un Show Something Else: Diagrams

And they suggest missiles are in development
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2017 9:25 AM CDT
In North Korean Photos, a Worrying Sign of Progress
North Korea's state media released photos that appear to show concept diagrams of the missiles hanging on a wall behind leader Kim Jong Un, one showing a diagram for a missile called "Pukguksong-3."   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

So much for restraint? North Korean state media published photos and a report Wednesday that show Kim Jong Un visiting a chemicals institute, and it was apparently more than a meet-and-greet. Yonhap reports that while there, Kim upped the production of rocket engines and warhead tips for ICBMs. The Wall Street Journal reports the timing of the visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science wasn't given, but the timing of the release is notable: It comes one day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a news briefing that he was "pleased to see that the regime in Pyongyang has certainly demonstrated some level of restraint that we have not seen in the past." It has been 26 days since the country's last missile launch.

"A two-week adherence of North Korea to UN prohibitions against missile tests hardly counts as a significant indicator of benign intent by the regime," is the assessment of one expert on the region to the Journal. CNN spotted something potentially more worrisome: The photos released by the Korean Central News Agency show diagrams that seem to depict two unknown and potentially in development missiles. One, the Pukguksong-3, seems to be a solid-fueled missile, as its predecessors were. This type has an advantage over liquid-fueled ones in that it doesn't need to sit on a launchpad for a length of time—during which it would be exposed to a preemptive strike—to fuel. "This is the North Koreans showing us, or at least portraying, that their solid-fuel missile program is improving at a steady rate," a researcher tells CNN. (More North Korea stories.)

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