US Korea Institute

Sunday December 4th 2016
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Satellite Imagery of Pyongyang: What is Missing in this Analysis?

Satellite Imagery of Pyongyang: What is Missing in this Analysis?

CNN recently posted a video from the Canadian company Urthecast with the headline “Space photos show something’s missing in North Korea.” It was hard to tell if this was supposed to be a news story or an infomercial. As it turned out, this could have been filed under “fake news.” The pleasantly-toned audio attached to the piece [...]

Sohae Satellite Launching Station: Test Unlikely in the Near Future

Sohae Satellite Launching Station: Test Unlikely in the Near Future

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. and Jack Liu. Summary Commercial satellite imagery from November 9 indicates continuing construction activity throughout and immediately outside of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. This does not appear directly related to any recent or forthcoming engine test or satellite [...]

Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: No Indications that a Test is Imminent

Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: No Indications that a Test is Imminent

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. and Jack Liu. Summary Recent commercial satellite imagery from October 29 and November 9 shows continued low-level activity at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility. This activity suggests that maintenance and minor excavation operations are taking place at the North and West [...]

A US Election Surprise? Possible but Unlikely

A US Election Surprise? Possible but Unlikely

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu While there has been speculation of a North Korean satellite launch or nuclear test occurring during the run-up to the US Presidential election, the evidence from commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and the Punggye-ri nuclear test site suggests it’s possible but [...]

North Korea’s Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground: Caretaker Status

North Korea’s Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground: Caretaker Status

Summary Commercial satellite imagery from January to October 2016 indicates that the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground on North Korea’s east coast remains in caretaker status. While construction efforts that began in 2011 were suspended in 2013, routine activity continues, such as minor maintenance and the drying of crops. No launches [...]

Checks and Balances: Thermal Imagery Analysis of Yongbyon

Checks and Balances: Thermal Imagery Analysis of Yongbyon

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Andy Dinville and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. Summary Given the lack of access to North Korea’s nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, outside observers rely on a variety of tools to monitor what is happening throughout the complex. High resolution commercial satellite imagery is useful for detecting movement as [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.