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Expert: North Korea has built large-scale military facility near Yongbyon

Some parts of the location were built to simulate a part of Seoul, South Korea’s capital.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Feb. 12, 2016 at 9:43 AM
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SEOUL, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- North Korea has built a large-scale military training facility since Kim Jong Un came to power, and some areas might be modeled on some part of Seoul or another urban setting, a U.S. researcher said.

Using Google Earth satellite imagery from November, Curtis Melvin of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University told Radio Free Asia the facility was spotted in North Pyongan Province, near the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex.

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The facility is the largest to be built since Kim Jong Un fully assumed power in 2012 and is estimated to have been built "very quickly" in just one month, between September and October 2014, Melvin said.

The training grounds are divided into three training zones, and satellite images analyzed by Melvin indicated fighter jets, tanks, trucks and equipment for an obstacle course were on site, Yonhap reported.

One site includes a 400-meter-long target practice facility and dozens of moving tanks.

A road from the site leads to another area with scores of buildings. That zone seems to have been designed with a specific area in mind, Melvin said, and could have been modeled on some part of Seoul.

But Melvin added it wasn't clear from the images exactly what this training area was supposed to represent.

In a separate report, an unidentified source in North Korea told RFA that Kim ordered the military to prepare three years' worth of rice for North Korea's troops.

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