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North Korea Said Enhancing Missile Site Ahead of Possible Launch

North Korea is seen to be enhancing its older missile launch facility at Musudan-ri, installing a bigger platform that could be used to fire a long-range missile, anonymous diplomatic insiders told news organizations in Japan and South Korea this week (see GSN, May 11).

The site in northeastern North Korea was previously used in the 1990s for tests of Scud missiles and later for firing the Taepodong 1 and Taepodong 2 missiles, the London Telegraph reported (see GSN, July 25, 2011).

Pyongyang in April launched a long-range Unha 3 rocket from its Dongchang-ri in what the regime said was an effort to send an observation satellite into space. The United States and partner states said they believed the launch was instead a test of North Korean ballistic missile technology prohibited by the U.N. Security Council. The rocket broke apart within minutes of liftoff.

Observers believe the North will want to reassert its military dominance with another long-range missile launch or even a new nuclear test.

Experts think the next missile launch could take place at Musudan-ri, according to the Telegraph. Beginning late last year, number of engine ignition assessments for long-range missiles have been conducted at the facility (Julian Ryall, London Telegraph, May 16).

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North Korea

This article provides an overview of North Korea's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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