North Korea obscures leaders' visits to missile development sites, report says

2019/01/ak_nkflag_1801-1547787756.jpg
Read: 577     11:47     18 January 2019    

Over the years, outside analysts have closely followed visits by North Korean leaders to factories, farms and military units to discern the regime's policy priorities.


The sleuthing is challenging: North Korean state news media often withhold the locations of these sites and their purposes, identifying them only by the names of their managers.

Now, two analysts based in the United States have located six such factories believed to be linked to North Korea's missile programme, visits to which by the country's leaders were deliberately obscured by state news media to thwart Washington's intelligence-gathering or cyber attacks. The factories and their operations were discovered through a painstaking digital examination of open-source data.

"North Korea may be reluctant to share those locations precisely to make them harder to target," Mr Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, said in a report published on Thursday (Jan 18).

"In other cases, however, the visits may have been related to the development of new missile-related systems that North Korea was not yet prepared to reveal."

The report about the sites comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepares to meet North Korea's nuclear negotiator, Mr Kim Yong Chol, to discuss steps toward denuclearisation in the North that could lay the groundwork for a second meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Mr Lewis worked with his colleague David Schmerler, often matching videos and photographs released by the North Korean state news media with commercial satellite imagery and details from visits by North Korean leaders to known factory sites.

Their report included map coordinates for the six plants, three of which turned out to be next to sites of important missile tests overseen by Mr Kim.

The Straits Times



Tags:



News Line

North Korea obscures leaders' visits to missile development sites, report says

2019/01/ak_nkflag_1801-1547787756.jpg
Read: 578     11:47     18 January 2019    

Over the years, outside analysts have closely followed visits by North Korean leaders to factories, farms and military units to discern the regime's policy priorities.


The sleuthing is challenging: North Korean state news media often withhold the locations of these sites and their purposes, identifying them only by the names of their managers.

Now, two analysts based in the United States have located six such factories believed to be linked to North Korea's missile programme, visits to which by the country's leaders were deliberately obscured by state news media to thwart Washington's intelligence-gathering or cyber attacks. The factories and their operations were discovered through a painstaking digital examination of open-source data.

"North Korea may be reluctant to share those locations precisely to make them harder to target," Mr Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on North Korea at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, said in a report published on Thursday (Jan 18).

"In other cases, however, the visits may have been related to the development of new missile-related systems that North Korea was not yet prepared to reveal."

The report about the sites comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepares to meet North Korea's nuclear negotiator, Mr Kim Yong Chol, to discuss steps toward denuclearisation in the North that could lay the groundwork for a second meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Mr Lewis worked with his colleague David Schmerler, often matching videos and photographs released by the North Korean state news media with commercial satellite imagery and details from visits by North Korean leaders to known factory sites.

Their report included map coordinates for the six plants, three of which turned out to be next to sites of important missile tests overseen by Mr Kim.

The Straits Times



Tags: