SEOUL, Oct. 18 (UPI) — North Korea continues to engage in low levels of activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, where Pyongyang launched an earth-observation satellite in February.
Writing for 38 North, a Johns Hopkins University website dedicated to North Korea issues, analyst Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., stated satellite imagery from Oct. 8 shows some activity but not the kind of movement that is typically seen before a launch.
The new activity could mean North Korea is concentrating on maintenance at the site or “infrastructure improvements.”
But “it remains unclear whether activity at the vertical engine test stand is related to an impending engine test or serves some other purpose,” Bermudez writes.
The images show a rail-mounted environmental shelter used for final work on an engine before it is transported to a test stand remains next to the vertical engine test stand.
The shelter would be “positioned further back on the concrete pad” when not in use, which means North Korea could be using the shelter to get ready for a new engine test, engaging in maintenance work, or trying to mislead outside observers, according to the analyst.
North Korea’s launch of a satellite from the site in February drew widespread condemnation, although Pyongyang had said the launch that involved the firing of a long-range rocket was conducted for peaceful purposes.
Critics have said the satellite launch was a cover for a test of a long-range ballistic missile.
North Korea also attempted to conduct an intermediate-range ballistic missile launch on Saturday, but the test ended in failure.
On Monday the United Nations Security Council strongly denounced the failed launch, and said the act was in “grave violation” of past U.N. resolutions, Voice of America reported.
The Council has yet to adopt a new North Korea sanctions resolution after Pyongyang conducted its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9.