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Analysts: N. Korea Launch Site Now Fully Restored

Trump says he is 'a little disappointed'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 8, 2019 12:11 AM CST
In this April 8, 2012 photo, a soldier stands in front of the Unha-3 rocket at a launching site in Tongchang-ri, North Korea.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
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(Newser) – US analysts say North Korea appears to have restored normal operations at a long-range rocket launch site it partially dismantled last year as part of steps toward disarmament. Some experts say North Korea is trying to convey displeasure over the breakdown of a summit last week between Kim Jong Un and President Trump over what the Americans said were Kim's excessive demands for sanctions relief, the AP reports. North Korea-focused website 38 North said Thursday that commercial satellite images from Wednesday indicate that the launch site appears to have returned to "normal operational status" following rapid construction to rebuild a launch pad and a rocket engine test stand at the Sohae satellite launching center.

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies published similar findings Thursday. "The rebuilding activities at Sohae demonstrate how quickly North Korea can easily render reversible any steps taken toward scrapping its WMD program with little hesitation," the CSIS said in a study authored by Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha. "This poses challenges for the US goal of final, irreversible and verifiable denuclearization." Trump said Thursday that he's a "little disappointed" by the reports of the new North Korean activity and that time will tell if US diplomacy with the reclusive country will be successful.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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