North Korea finalizing the expansion of a missile plant, analyst says: reports
Researchers in the United States have said analysis of satellite imagery shows North Korea.
By Austin Keeler | Dec 31, 2019 | Print-friendly

Researchers in the United States have said analysis of satellite imagery shows North Korea appear to be finalizing the expansion of a key ballistic missile manufacturing plant.

The images were leaked reports from US intelligence officials who were uncertain about North Korea's willingness to abandon its nuclear weapons program, which Washington has said the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had agreed to when he met President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

The images, which were captured by San Francisco-based Planet Labs Inc. and then analyzed by researchers at the Middlebury Institute Studies (MIIS) in Monterrey, show Pyongyang finishing construction at the Chemical Material Institute, which is based in the North Korean city of Hamhung.

The Chemical Material Institute is a facility center for making carbon composite parts for solid-fueled missiles like nozzles, airframes and nosecones used in re-entry vehicles, according to David Schmerler, a research associate at MIIS.

"The Chemical Materials Institute seems like they have one function, and that's pumping out parts for their missile program," Schmerler said.

Jeffrey Lewis, the director for the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at MIIS, said majority of the plant was built in May, after Kim's summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in but before Kim met with Trump.