US commercial satellites unearth hidden missile bases in North Korea

Washington: On Monday, private researchers based out of United States discovered North Korea’s 13 missiles operating bases which are estimated to be 20 – all of which are reportedly undeclared by the government.

North Korea’s secret nuclear mission was revealed by Beyond Parallel under the supervision of Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a bipartisan, non-profit policy research organization based in Washington DC.

The research shows the commercial satellite imagery of 13 secret facilities used to produce missiles and related technology.

The report states that, “these missile operating bases, which can be used for all classes of ballistic missile from short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) up to and including intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), would presumably have to be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal.”

Among the 13 identified bases, Sakkanmol is an undeclared operational missile base for short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), located within the Tactical Belt in North Hwanghae province, 85 km north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and 135 km northwest of Seoul(the capital of South Korea), giving it the shortest flight time.

Strategic Force—a military branch of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) that oversees North Korea’s nuclear and conventional strategic missiles—is both sizable and capable of inflicting significant damage even when its missiles are armed with only conventional warheads.

Due to cultural factors and a military policy that states the North remains in a state of war, the majority of KPA missile operating bases display a number of distinct characteristics.

According to a media report, United States’s Central Intelligence Agency has declined to comment on the images, but US officials have expressed concern about North Korea using hidden and undeclared locations to continue to work on improving their missile technology and possibly their nuclear program.

Missile operating bases are permanent facilities that contain a unit’s headquarters, barracks, housing, support, maintenance, and storage facilities.