U.S. think tank discloses undeclared missile operating base in N. Korea

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2019-01-22 10:31 Updated : 2019-01-22 10:31
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SEOUL -- North Korean missile operating bases would presumably have to be declared, verified and dismantled in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal, a U.S. think tank said, highlighting an undeclared base which has been used to test and develop ballistic missiles.

The Sino-ri base, about 77 kilometers (48 miles) northwest of Pyongyang, is located in North Korea's strategic missile belt, Beyond Parallel, a project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said in a report posted on its website, adding it houses a regiment-sized unit equipped with Nodong-1 medium-range ballistic missiles.

The Sino-ri base in Unjon Country, North Pyongan province, may have played a role in the development of an intermediate-range ballistic missile called "Pukguksong-2 (KN-15)" ballistic missile tested on February 12, 2017, the think tank said. "It is one of the oldest of about 20 undeclared missile operating bases."

The Sino-ri base does not appear to be the subject of denuclearization negotiations between the United States and North Korea, Beyond Parallel said, stressing that any future agreement must take account of all operational missile base facilities.

"Although most often referred to as simply a missile operating base, it has fulfilled broader missions as both an operational test and development facility and training facility subordinate to the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army (KPA)," the think tank said.

The base appears to have been involved in validating designs and testing capabilities for new launchers, support vehicles and specialized equipment, Beyond Parallel said, adding it has also been a site for assisting in the development of operational procedures and tactics and conducting training for ballistic missile personnel and units.

"The Sino-ri missile operating base and the Nodong missiles based here fit into North Korea's presumed offensive ballistic missile strategy by providing an operational-level first strike capability against targets located both throughout the Korean Peninsula and in most of Japan."

Located about 7.5 kilometers northwest of the Sino-ri base are the Sobaek-su Academy and Myodu-san training area and preliminary analysis indicates that they are likely to be centered around a division of responsibilities -- Sino-ri for ballistic missile operations and development, Sobaek-su for personnel education and Myodu-san for ballistic missile training, the think tanks aid.