North Korea: The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies based in California disclosed satellite imagery that captured a new building around Sanum-dong in Pyongyang last year.
The center compared the recent images with those taken back in 2009 and confirmed that a new facility was erected on what was once a wasteland.
The nonproliferation agency believes the new facility is likely a center for intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) research or a storage house. The agency cited that the facility is big enough to store a 30-meter Kwangmyongsong rocket as it measures 66 meters wide and 30 meters long.
It assessed that the facility expansion demonstrates that Pyongyang “continues to rapidly build out its missile program” despite international warnings.
On the agency’s assessment, the U.S.-based news outlet CNBC projected that the North could test-fire an ICBM in the next few months given that the Donald Trump administration has just launched and as the incumbent and former North Korean leaders’ birthdays are in February and in April.
The latest assessment comes after the head of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee stressed the need for the U.S. to expand its missile defense systems amid threats from North Korea and Iran.
With fears rising that the North’s military provocations could also threaten the U.S. mainland, Washington is expected to take stronger responses.