N. Korea has ‘core technology‘ for ICBM: sources
The South Korean military believes that North Korea has technology equivalent to that which enables the communist state to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can strike the mainland United States, military sources said Tuesday.
Pyongyang’s technology has reached a level enough to perform rocket stage separation and altitude control on its own both called “core technology” for ICBM, they said.
A U.S. website, meanwhile, reported Monday that new satellite imagery shows advanced preparations by North Korea for its rocket launch, including a mobile radar trailer and apparently empty fuel tanks, according to AFP.
The North says its rocket will put a peaceful satellite into orbit between April 12-16, while the United States and its allies accuse Pyongyang of planning a ballistic missile test banned under U.N. resolutions.
The photography "reveals that North Korea has undertaken more extensive preparations for its planned April rocket launch than previously understood," the 38 North website (38north.org) reported.
It said a March 28 photo of the entire site at Tongchang-ri in the country's far northwest appeared to show a trailer with a dish antenna _ probably a radar tracking system _ atop a ridge at the end of a new dirt road.
The image taken by U.S. firm DigitalGlobe also shows previously empty, fenced-in areas which are filled with rows of what are probably empty fuel and oxidizer tanks, said the website, which carried some of the imagery. 38 North said the tanks were apparently dumped after their contents were transferred to buildings that will directly fuel the rocket's first stage.
"The large number of apparently empty tanks indicates that the transfer process may have been close to completion," said the website, a project of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
There also appeared to be activity near the horizontal launcher assembly building where press reports indicated the stages of the Unha-3 rocket are located. Last Friday, 38 North published a series of other satellite images from DigitalGlobe, showing work on schedule for the widely condemned launch.