North Korea is building a facility “likely designed to support ballistic missile operations”, according to a report by a US think tank.
The news has emerged after satellites images were analysed by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The facility is reportedly near completion and is being constructed near Pyongyang International Airport. The group has said that it “is almost certainly related to North Korea’s expanding ballistic missiles programme”.
The report claims the facility has been under construction since 2016 and is located “next to an underground facility whose likely size is also large enough to easily accommodate all known North Korean ballistic missiles and their associated launchers and support vehicles”. Additionally, it is also reported that the construction features “an unusually large covered rail terminal” and the connection of large buildings via a road network that could potentially help move large trucks and ballistic missile launchers.
The facility, named by the CSIS as the Sil-li Ballistic Missile Support Facility, has been concluded to be designed “to support ballistic missile operations” and, provided there are no unexpected delays, it could be ready for operation by late 2020 or early 2021.
The South Korean government has deemed commenting on the report to be “inappropriate” but, with recent nuclear diplomacy failures between the United States and North Korea, particularly after the failed Hanoi summit in 2019, the report will cause concern across the international community.