Satellite imagery shows missile activity in North Korea
WASHINGTON (AP) - Satellite imagery indicates North Korea has been testing rocket engines, a sign it continues to develop its long-range ballistic missiles, a US academic institute said on Monday.
The analysis provided to The Associated Press is based on satellite images taken as recently as late September of the Sohae site on the secretive country's north-west coast. In April, the North launched a rocket from there in a failed attempt to propel a satellite into space in defiance of a UN ban.
The analysis on the website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, which is called "38 North," said it remains unclear whether the North is preparing another rocket launch but predicted it may embark on new rocket and nuclear tests in the first half of 2013.
The analysis underscores the challenges posed by the North's weapons programmes to the United States and its allies as President Barack Obama heads into his second term. Washington's most recent attempt to negotiate a freeze in the North's nuclear programme and a test moratorium in exchange for food aid collapsed with the April launch that the US regarded as a cover for testing ballistic missile technology.