Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


N Korea halts work at rocket site

23 July 2013, 12:41

Seoul - Fresh satellite images confirm that North Korea has halted construction at a facility to launch a new generation of long-range rockets, a US research institute said on Tuesday.

The building of a new launch pad, missile assembly building and launch control centre at the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground slowed and then stopped around September 2012.

"While it was expected that construction would continue this spring, new imagery indicates that work had not resumed as of late May 2013, almost eight months later," the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University posted on its 38 North website.

The new facilities were intended to handle rockets larger than the North's Unha-3 space launch vehicle (SLV) which successfully placed a satellite in orbit in December last year.

Although tagged by Pyongyang as a purely scientific mission, that launch was seen by the international community as a disguised ballistic missile test and was punished by additional UN sanctions.

The 38 North website said it was unclear why work at the Tonghae site had been halted.

Initial speculation that it was due to construction teams being sent elsewhere to repair widespread typhoon damage now seems unlikely given the eight-month time lapse, it added.

Possible policy change

"If work resumes, completion of the new launch facilities ... would appear to be at least a year behind the estimate of their original [2016] schedule" it said.

The website speculated that Pyongyang may have decided that one launch pad capable of handling larger rockets than the Unha - located at the more modern Sohae facility - was sufficient to press ahead.

"An alternative explanation is that the North may have decided to slow or even end its effort to build larger rockets," it said.

Such a step would mark a major policy change.

Despite international criticism and UN sanctions, North Korea has repeatedly made it clear that it intends to pursue a missile programme which it sees as a key component of an effective nuclear deterrent.

During the recent surge in military tensions on the Korean peninsula that followed the December rocket launch and the North's nuclear test in February, Pyongyang warned it had the ability to deliver nuclear warheads as far as the continental United States.

Most experts say such claims are exaggerated, but Washington announced in March that it was deploying new missile interceptor batteries in Alaska in order to "stay ahead" of the nuclear threat from North Korea.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Cyril Mike Odhiz
Kenyans furious on young lady aft...

A young Kenyan woman is the talk of town after she posted a photo with her elderly lover after a round of steamy sex, or so the photo suggested.  Read more...

Submitted by
Kiplangat langat
Uhuru could be a one term Presid...

Bomet governor Isaac Ruto has said that President Uhuru Kenyatta could be a one term President if he fails to increase allocations to the counties. Read more...

Submitted by
Mody Sammy
35 year old farmer a new milliona...

A 35 year old farmer from Mpeketoni Lamu county has become the latest millionaire in town as she became winner in the ongoing ‘Shinda Mamili na Story Ibambe’. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Leave your past relationship bagg...

Leave your past relationship baggage at the door when you start a new relationship. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Advice from a young married Kenya...

I was just going to get water in the office kitchen and thought a simple hi was fine until I ended up in an hour long conversation with someone. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...