US Korea Institute

Monday March 27th 2017
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Satellite Imagery

A look from the sky at what’s happening down in the DPRK.

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 [...]

Activity at North Korea’s Sohae Launch Facility: Continued Infrastructure Improvements

Activity at North Korea’s Sohae Launch Facility: Continued Infrastructure Improvements

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. Commercial satellite imagery from October 8 continues to show a low-level of activity at and around the launch pad and vertical engine test stand at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. Given the absence of activities normally associated with an impending launch, such as the [...]

Policy in Practice: Have Sanctions Slowed Mining and Trade at Musan?

Policy in Practice: Have Sanctions Slowed Mining and Trade at Musan?

Following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January 2016, the United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on the DPRK through Resolution (UNSCR) 2270. Considered to be the strongest of all measures imposed to date, these sanctions included a prohibition on the export of coal, iron and iron ore from the DPRK. Some observers believed [...]

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