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South Korea monitoring North Korea after missile launcher report

By
Elizabeth Shim
South Korea says it is working with the United States on monitoring, following a recent press report on North Korea's production of equipment related to the Pukguksong-2, tested in May 2017. File Photo by KCNA/EPA
South Korea says it is working with the United States on monitoring, following a recent press report on North Korea's production of equipment related to the Pukguksong-2, tested in May 2017. File Photo by KCNA/EPA

July 3 (UPI) -- South Korea's joint chiefs of staff says it is monitoring North Korea's missile equipment production, after a recent press report suggested North Korea may be producing equipment for launchers.

Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday at a regular press briefing he could not confirm details of the report for official reasons, News 1 reported.

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Roh added Seoul is working closely with the United States on the matter and North Korea's facilities are being watched.

The statement comes after The Diplomat reported Saturday information from the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center shows North Korea has not stopped producing vehicles and "support equipment" for the medium-range Pukguksong-2 in 2018.

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The assessment follows statements from Kim Jong Un on April 20, when during the third plenary meeting he directed the Korean Workers' Party's 7th Central Committee to close the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, called for a suspension of long-range missile tests, but opted to not reverse an order to produce new missiles and warheads.

Moon Geun-shik, a submarine expert and defense analyst at Korea Defense and Security Forum, told News 1 Pyongyang is not likely to stop missile-related activity.

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"Until North Korea agrees on a timetable for denuclearization, it will not suspend or cancel actions related to missiles," Moon said. "This is a move [calculated] to procure economic support or diplomatic progress that they want from the United States."

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The Pukguksong-2 is a two-stage, solid-fuel missile that is the land-based version of the sub-launched Pukguksong-1.

The missile is ejected from a canister using compressed gas.

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