Satellite image shows activity at North Korea launch site
November 26th, 2012
07:59 PM ET

Satellite image shows activity at North Korea launch site

By Adam Levine

A new satellite image shows increased activity at a North Korean launch site, suggesting a new launch could be possible in the next few weeks, according to the satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe.

The United States has seen activity on the launch pad but does not believe a launch is imminent, U.S. military sources tell CNN's Barbara Starr.

The image at North Korea's Sohae satellite launch station was taken on November 23 and shows similar preparations as was witnessed ahead of the failed April 13 attempt to launch a satellite on top of a long-range missile, the DigitalGlobe analysis concludes.
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Filed under: Asia • North Korea • Satellite imagery
Satellite images suggest North Korean working on missiles, group says
A new version of North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile sits on a launch pad prior to its launch last April. (CNN Photo)
November 13th, 2012
02:45 AM ET

Satellite images suggest North Korean working on missiles, group says

By Jethro Mullen

Undeterred by the embarrassment of a failed rocket launch earlier this year, North Korea appears to be pressing ahead with the development of long-range missiles, according to an analysis of satellite images by a U.S. academic website.

Drawing on commercial satellite imagery, the website 38 North suggests that the reclusive North Korean regime has carried out at least two tests of large rocket motors at the Sohae Satellite Launch Station on the country's west coast since April.

That's the same site from which the nuclear-armed North launched a long-range rocket on April 13 that broke apart shortly after takeoff. Pyongyang said the rocket was supposed to put a satellite in orbit, but the launch was seen by many other countries as cover for a ballistic missile test.

The most recent test of a large rocket motor at Sohae took place in mid-September, according to the analysis posted Monday by 38 North, which is run by the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

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What is going on inside North Korea?
Kim Jong Un is shown inspecting the Seoul Ryu Kyong Su 105 Guards Tank Division of the Korean People's Army earlier this year in this photo taken by North Korea's official news agency.
October 25th, 2012
05:31 PM ET

What is going on inside North Korea?

By Jamie Crawford

In the famously opaque world of North Korean politics, the ongoing leadership transition is in some ways proving more dagger than cloak with reports of executions and purges of top military officials in recent days.

South Korean newspapers this week reported on the execution of Kim Chol, North Korea's vice minister of the North Korean military, and other senior military officials earlier this year for drinking liquor during the mourning period for former leader Kim Jong Il. Kim's son, Kim Jong Un, who is the new leader of North Korea, has overseen purges of other former leaders from the military ranks for being involved in sex scandals the reports also said.

"Contrary to what might be the popular perception that there is a smooth transition going on from the father to the son, these reports show there is still a lot of churn going on inside the system," Victor Cha, a former Korea specialist on the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration, told CNN.

For Cha, now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the moves under way in North Korea may signal a shift in leadership styles for the new young leader.
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Filed under: Kim Jong-un • North Korea
North Korea's leader still a mystery
October 24th, 2012
05:24 PM ET

North Korea's leader still a mystery

By Chris Lawrence

The United States and South Korea still have no clear insight on the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, nearly a year after he replaced his father.

"We still don't know whether or not he will follow in the footsteps of his father, or whether he represents a different kind of leadership for the future," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted Wednesday.

Panetta made the comment at a news conference on Wednesday after security talks with his South Korean counterpart. The meetings included discussion of North Korea's young leader, who succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, after his death in 2011.
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North Korea's missile remarks, talking trash or real threat?
A new version of North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile sits on a launch pad prior to its launch last April. (CNN Photo)
October 9th, 2012
06:20 PM ET

North Korea's missile remarks, talking trash or real threat?

By Larry Shaughnessy

North Korea claims that it has ballistic missiles that can reach the mainland of the United States. If it does, the isolated Asian nation certainly hasn't offered any proof in spite of several attempts.

Even back in 2003, CIA Director George Tenet testified to Congress that the Taepodong-2 missile could hit the U.S. West Coast. But the potential has not translated into technical success.
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Reading between the lines of North Korea's marriage announcement
July 27th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Reading between the lines of North Korea's marriage announcement

By Jill Dougherty, reporting from Aspen, Colorado

Former Ambassador Christopher Hill doesn't always keep his eye on wedding announcements, but the former U.S Ambassador to South Korea and former head of the U.S. delegation to the Six Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear program is closely following the news that the young North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, is married.

I spoke with Hill as he took a break between sessions at the Aspen Security Forum. After years of dealing with North Korea, Hill often uses words like "weird," "odd," and even "hideous." But in trying to understand Pyonyang, he says, the U.S. should be coldly objective.

"As hideous as that system looks to us," Hill says, "we need to keep our analytical tools at hand and not just react to the situation emotionally but try to think through and think where this is taking them." FULL POST

Purge of North Korean general still a mystery
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves to soldiers of the Korean People Internal Security Forces in the capital Pyongyang
July 19th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Purge of North Korean general still a mystery

By Jamie Crawford

North Korea's sudden dismissal of Ri Yong Ho from his post as army chief and from all his government posts caught many watchers of the secretive regime of Kim Jong Un by surprise and wondering what was going on.

"To me, it's just another sign of how this transition is quite unstable, and we think it's six months since Kim Jong Il died, and we think everything is normal in North Korea - clearly it's not normal," said Victor Cha, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of a new book on the Kim regime.

For Cha, who traveled to Pyongyang in 2006 as a member of the National Security Council, the announcement signals a transition still in flux. "It's a relative term when you say 'normal' in North Korea, but this is not business as usual, very clearly."

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Filed under: Kim Jong Il • Kim Jong-un • North Korea
Satellite imagery shows ramped-up work at North Korea reactor
July 13th, 2012
12:46 AM ET

Satellite imagery shows ramped-up work at North Korea reactor

By Adam Levine

New satellite imagery obtained by CNN's Security Clearance shows increased activity at a North Korean nuclear facility.

The imagery, provided to Security Clearance by GeoEye with analysis by Allision Pucionni at IHS Jane's, shows the extent of construction at the Yongbyon light water reactor since construction resumed this spring on the facility.

The satellite snapshot from June 24 shows components have been added to the reactor building, including across the open roof, according to Puccioni, a senior imagery analyst at IHS Jane's. A "traveling crane" can be seen and is believed to have been added in April.

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Filed under: Asia • North Korea • Satellite imagery • Yongbyon
June 5th, 2012
04:10 AM ET

U.S. General who misspoke on North Korea is replaced

By Paula Hancocks

The Pentagon has announced a replacement for the U.S. General in charge of Special Operations in Korea a week after controversy broke over comments he made on North Korea.

Brigadier General Neil Tolley was reported as saying U.S. and South Korean troops parachute into North Korea to spy on underground military facilities. Tolley admitted he was not misquoted at a conference in Florida last month, rather he misspoke.

Jennifer Buschick, spokesperson for U.S. Forces Korea tells CNN, “This is a routine announcement that has been in the works for months” and Tolley’s replacement “has no connection to current events.”

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Filed under: North Korea
May 31st, 2012
12:42 AM ET

U.S. general admits he misspoke about North Korea spying

By Paula Hancocks

A U.S. general in Korea who reportedly said that American troops parachute into North Korea to spy has admitted he was not misquoted in the speech – but that he misspoke.

Brigadier General Neil Tolley, commander of special forces in South Korea, made the comments during a speech at a conference in Florida last week. The Diplomat, a magazine based in Japan, quoted Tolley as saying in the speech that U.S. troops parachute into North Korea to spy on underground military facilities.

Amidst the ensuing controversy, the Pentagon accused the reporter of the piece, David Axe, of misreporting the speech.

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Filed under: North Korea
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