North Korea has “apparently almost completed” physical restoration of a rocket launch site, Seoul claimed on Wednesday.
According to a report in Korean news agency Yonhap, South Korea’s Defense Ministry in a report said that it was “unclear whether the Dongchang-ri test site is functionally back to normal”.
“It is understood that the restoration of external facilities at the site has been almost completed, but their functional recovery has yet to be confirmed,” Yonhap quoted the Defense Ministry report.
Earlier this month, reports had emerged that North Korea was “restoring an ancillary building” at Dongchang-ri, which was partially disassembled last year.
The ministry report was submitted to Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Byung-kee.
“The reconstruction work appears to have begun just before the Feb. 27-28 Hanoi summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,” the report added.
It said that the restoration work is “presumed to be designed to prepare for an international on-site inspection team to attend a complete teardown ceremony, following the precedent at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, as the work started before the second summit”.
Trump and Kim met in Hanoi last month for a second summit on possible denuclearization of Korean peninsula but the U.S. president exited the summit without reaching an agreement with North Korean leader.
“North Korea repaired the Punggye-ri site before an inspection team visited it to see its demolition (in May last year). We’ve guessed that the Dongchang-ri restoration this time had the same purpose,” Seoul said.