Satellite images show fuel trucks at N. Korea launch site

Satellite images show fuel trucks at N. Korea launch site

Region North Korea's nuclear research reports observation by Division of Earthquake and Tsunami Japan Meteorological Agency. It reported after the N. Korea nuclear test which resulted in the earthquake on January 12, 2016. (REUTERS/Toru Hanai)

In the past, such activity has occurred 1-2 weeks prior to a launch event ..."
Seoul (ANTARA News) - Fuel trucks were spotted at North Koreas main satellite centre, according to a US think tank, however the group says it is unlikely Pyongyang has begun fuelling the rocket it plans to launch in the coming weeks.

The satellite images of the Norths Sohae complex on Wednesday and Thursday (Feb. 3 & 4) showed the trucks at fuel and oxidizer bunkers, the US-Korea Institute said on its website, 38 North.

"Contrary to recent reports, the presence of these tankers more likely indicates the filling of fuel/oxidizer tanks within the bunkers than the fuelling of the space launch vehicle", the group said on Friday.

"In the past, such activity has occurred 1-2 weeks prior to a launch event and would be consistent with North Koreas announced launch window of February 8 through 24," it added.

Pyongyang has announced it will launch a satellite-bearing rocket sometime between February 8-25, which is around the time of the birthday on February 16 of late leader Kim Jong-Il, father of Kim Jong-Un.

Citing an unidentified US Defence Department official, Japans Asahi Shimbun said Friday that US satellite data suggested North Korea may have already begun fuelling the rocket in the face of wide-spread international condemnation.

The North insists its space programme is purely scientific in nature, but the United States and allies, including South Korea, say its rocket launches are aimed at developing an inter-continental ballistic missile capable of striking the US mainland.

UN sanctions prohibit North Korea from any launch using ballistic missile technology.

The imminent launch would constitute another major violation of UN Security Council resolutions following Pyongyangs fourth nuclear test last month.

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