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North Korea 'Restoring' Rocket Launch Site After Failed Summit

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A U.S. think tank says analysis of new satellite images of activity at a North Korean long-range rocket site suggests Pyongyang may be rapidly rebuilding the test facility that it pledged to dismantle after the Singapore summit.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says the images were taken two days after the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended without an agreement in Vietnam's capital Hanoi late last month.

The two leaders cut short their discussions after Kim's request for a full withdrawal of sanctions in return for the communist country's willingness to abandon nuclear weapons was rejected.

Commercial satellite imagery acquired on March 2 shows that North Korea is pursuing a rapid rebuilding of the long-range rocket site at Sohae, the Washington-based think tank said in key findings published on its website.

This site has been used in the past for satellite launches, which use Intercontinental Ballistic Missile technology banned under UN Security Council resolutions. It has also been used for testing engines for missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Activity is evident at the vertical engine test stand and the launch pad's rail-mounted rocket transfer structure.

Significantly, the environmental shelters on the umbilical tower, which are normally closed, have been opened to show the launch pad.

This facility had been dormant since August 2018, indicating the current activity is deliberate and purposeful, according to CSIS.

This is a walk back from important denuclearization commitments and assurance to shut major missile launch sites made by Pyongyang during the first Trump-Kim summit last June and at an inter-Korean summit in September.

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