SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Korea Bizwire) – Recent satellite imagery shows the arrival of tanker trucks at the launch pad of North Korea’s rocket site in an indication that the communist nation is forging ahead with a planned rocket launch, a North Korea-monitoring website said Friday.
The imagery taken of the North’s Sohae or Dongchang-ri site on Wednesday and Thursday showed the tanker trucks at the old fuel and oxidizer bunkers, 38 North said in a report, adding that the trucks’ presence more likely indicates the filling of tanks within the bunkers than the fueling of the rocket.
“In the past, such activity has occurred one to two weeks prior to a launch event and would be consistent with North Korea’s announced launch window,” 38 North said.
North Korea has informed international organizations it will launch an earth observation satellite between Feb. 8-25, confirming widespread concern it is readying for a banned long-range rocket launch just weeks after its fourth nuclear test.
The North has long argued its rocket launches are aimed at putting satellites into orbit, claiming it has the right to the peaceful use of space. But Pyongyang is banned from such launches under U.N. Security Council resolutions as it has been accused of using them as a cover for testing intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Experts say long-range rockets and ICBMs are basically the same with differences only in payloads.