Connect to share and comment

Report: North Korea halts launch pad construction

Satellite imagery obtained by the Associated Press shows that building has stopped on a rocket-testing launch pad.

North Korea missile launch pad 2012 4 9Enlarge
Two North Korean soldiers stand guard in front of the Unha-3 rocket at Tangachai -ri space center on April 8, 2012. (PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea has halted construction on a launch pad designed for testing intercontinental-range rockets, according to satellite imagery obtained by the Associated Press.

Analyzed by 38 North, the website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the imagery shot on August 29 appears to show stopped construction on fuel and oxidizer buildings, the International Business Times explained

It is unclear why the progress has suddenly stopped, though the country's recent heavy rains could be a factor. 

The slowdown on construction could stall the completion of the new Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground complex for as long as two years, Agence France Presse reported

However, Pyongyang remains determined to advance its nuclear plans despite warnings from the US and others, and is reportedly refurbishing another launch pad at the complex, according to the AP. 

More from GlobalPost: UN blacklists North Korea firms over rocket launch

“Despite the temporary halt in construction at the new Tonghae launch pad and the failed test last April, the North Koreans appear determined to eventually build bigger and better rockets,” Joel Wit, a former US State Department official and editor of 38 North, told the AP. 

Though North Korea has tested its nuclear powers in both 2006 and 2009, experts are doubtful that the country is prepared to fire a long-range missile, the UK Press Association reported

The country also experienced a launch failure back in April, but that was at a newer site, the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, according to the UKPA. 

More from GlobalPost: North Korea's failed rocket brings condemnation, embarrassment

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120925/report-north-korea-halts-launch-pad-construction