North Korea jointly developed missile technology with Iran, analyst says

North Korea has not stopped developing its nuclear weapons program.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Feb. 2, 2016 at 2:45 PM
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SEOUL, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- North Korea jointly developed rocket boosters with Iran – and the technology could be deployed in a long-range ballistic missile launch.

Jeffrey Lewis, a North Korea analyst at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif., said that the movement of vehicles near North Korea's launch site indicates a ballistic missile launch is highly possible, Jiji Press reported.

Lewis told Japan press North Korea could launch a rocket similar in size to the Unha-3, which was fired in December 2012, but added the possibility Pyongyang could launch another rocket, equipped with a 80-ton rocket booster developed in cooperation with Iran, cannot be ruled out.

On Monday North Korea notified a United Nations agency of its plan to launch a satellite in February, but the plan could be a cover for a test of Pyongyang's ballistic missile technology.

Other reports indicate North Korea has not stopped developing its nuclear weapons program.

The Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., said in a report issued Monday recent satellite imagery of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex showed the construction of a new nuclear facility on the premises, Yonhap reported.

"The precise purpose of this site remains unknown. However, it is of interest because the signatures visible through a historical analysis of satellite imagery are consistent with an isotope separation facility, including tritium separation," the report read, referring to satellite images from Jan. 25.

In a previous report, the institute stated Pyongyang has enough nuclear material to build 22 nuclear weapons, and is in possession of 66-88 pounds of separated plutonium.

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