The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Seoul (AFP) — North Korea will be able to test longer-range rockets at its new launch site before the end of this year, a U.S. think-tank has said.

A major construction program has been under way at the North’s Sohae Satellite Launching Station since mid-2013, focused on upgrading facilities to handle larger, longer-range rockets with heavier payloads.

Satellite images taken this month indicate that several significant construction projects there are nearing completion despite heavy rain this summer, the U.S.-Korea institute at Johns Hopkins University said in a post dated Thursday.

“The effort under way since late last year — to upgrade the gantry tower and launch pad — that will enable the North Koreans to test space launch vehicles with greater ranges and carry larger payloads than the Unha rocket fired in 2012 should be finished by fall,” it said.

“As a result, the North will be able to conduct new launches from this site before the end of the year should it decide to do so.”

There is little doubt that North Korea has an active ballistic missile development program, but it remains unclear how much progress it has made.

Development of a working ICBM that could reach the continental United States would bring the North’s regular nuclear strike warnings to a whole new level.

Last month, the same U.S. think-tank said North Korea might be wrapping up engine trials on an intercontinental ballistic missile, citing satellite images.

“If the engine tests are concluded, the next stage in development of the KN-08 road-mobile ICBM may be full-scale flight tests of the missile”, it said.

It stressed, however, that it was unclear just how successful the tests had been.

The KN-08 was first unveiled at a military parade in April 2012, but many analysts dismissed the models on show as mock-ups.

In December the same year, Pyongyang demonstrated its rocket capabilities by sending a satellite into orbit on a multi-stage launch vehicle.

But it has yet to conduct a test that would show it has mastered the re-entry technology required for an effective ICBM.

AFP Photo

Interested in world news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Chief Justice John Roberts

The House Select Committee hearings are swaying political independents and centrists to reject the power-grabbing tactics used by Donald Trump and his Republican enablers to overturn the 2020 presidential election, according to several polls and surveys of battleground state voters released on Thursday, June 30.

“Vast majorities of the American people are paying attention, and they are deeply concerned,” said Leslie Dach, co-chair of Defend Democracy Project, an advocacy group dedicated to the principle that voters determine the outcome of elections. “They believe that a crime has been committed. They want accountability in the courts and at the ballot box. And they hold not just President Trump responsible, but they hold his allies and Republicans responsible for what happened.”

Keep reading... Show less

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}