Category: North Korea


Recent commercial satellite imagery from May 8 of the Sinpo South Shipyard supports previous reports that North Korea is continuing to actively pursue development of both a ballistic missile submarine and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). Camouflage netting, intended to conceal ongoing activity and first seen in January 2016, is again present on the deck of the submarine. The submersible test stand barge has been moved from its position along the northern secondary dock back to the main dock and a support vessel is now tied up alongside. A large shipping container is positioned dockside. Whether this was a shipping container for the Bukkeukseong-1 SLBM is unclear.

Camouflage Netting on GORAE-Class Submarine

Commercial satellite imagery from May 8, 2016, shows netting has once again been suspended over the deck of the submarine. This netting was first seen in imagery of December 26, 2015 and on several occasions since. The purpose of this netting is to conceal ongoing activity. Netting for concealment purposes has also been observed at other submarine bases during the past five years.

A shipping container observed dockside of the submarine in an image from April 28 is no longer present. Whether this container was for the Bukkeukseong-1 SLBM is unclear.

Source: Camouflage Netting Spotted on North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Submarine | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

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A United Nations Security Council condemnation of North Korea’s latest missile tests has been delayed by Russian amendments to a statement that had been agreed by the remaining 14 members, including Pyongyang’s ally China, diplomats said on Tuesday.

North Korea test-fired what appeared to be two intermediate-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, but both failed. China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi, president of the U.N. Security Council last month, said the body was working on a response.

“The Security Council needs to respond swiftly; so we don’t understand why Russia is blocking while all other council members, including China, which borders DPRK (North Korea), can agree,” Britain’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Peter Wilson said.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Monday that Moscow had added “some very valuable input” to the draft council statement that the United States was considering “unhappily.”

“We need to call a spade a spade and we think that asking for the interested parties to scale down their military activity in the region is very important,” Churkin said, referring to moves by the United States and South Korea.

Russia and China on Friday called on the United States not to install a new anti-missile system in South Korea, after Washington said it was in talks with Seoul following North Korea’s nuclear arms and missile tests.

The North routinely threatens to destroy South Korea and the United States.

Source: Russia delays U.N. council condemnation of North Korea missile tests | Reuters

New commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site from April 19 shows limited vehicle and equipment activity at the North Portal and Main Support Area as well as indications of resumed excavation operations at the West Portal.

These activities by themselves do not establish that test preparations are imminent.

However, the possibility of an impending test cannot be ruled out. Pyongyang has clearly demonstrated, with its fourth nuclear detonation this past January, the ability to conduct detonations on short notice while masking indicators of its preparations from satellite view.

North Portal

Limited movement of vehicles and equipment at the North Portal—site of the past three North Korean nuclear tests—continue between April 14 and 19.

While two trailers or vehicles were observed outside the entrance to the North Portal on April 14, only one single trailer or vehicle is present on April 19.

Source: North Korea’s Nuclear Test Site: Limited Activity Continues; Tunnel Excavation Resumes | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — One North Korean who worked abroad says that as a waitress in China, she was forced to put up with male customers who groped her and tried to get her drunk.

Two others recall the frozen bodies of their countrymen stored in Russian logging camps.

Another says he toiled for up to 16 hours a day at a Kuwaiti construction site surrounded by wire fences.

As difficult as those lives were, the four workers told The Associated Press, it beat staying in the North.

The jobs actually conveyed status back home, and were so coveted that people used bribes and family connections to get them.

“I beat the odds of 1 in 12 to become a waitress … People’s views of jobs in North Korea are totally different from here,” said Lee Soung Hee, 42, who worked at a North Korean-run restaurant in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian in the early 2000s and now lives in South Korea.

“Women in North Korea have a fantasy about an overseas waitress job.”

The stories of Lee and the other three workers, all of whom have also defected to rival South Korea, speak volumes about how different life appears when viewed through a North Korean lens.

The country has sent tens of thousands of workers abroad with a mission to bring in foreign currency.

Human-rights organizations have called those workers modern-day slaves, while also decrying human-rights abuses North Koreans face back home.

To the workers themselves, there is little debate about which plight is more favorable.

Source: N. Koreans: Brutal work abroad better than life back home

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