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North Korea nearing completion of ballistic missile support facility: US expert

An expert with a US think tank said on Tuesday (May 5) that North Korea is heading towards the completion of a ballistic missile facility with the capacity to test-fire intercontinental ballistic missiles. 
Joseph Bermudez wrote in a report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the Sil-li Ballistic Missile Support Facility, which was "previously undisclosed," is very close to Pyongyang International Airport. Bermudez has based his conclusions are based on satellite imagery.
"A new facility is nearing completion near Pyongyang International Airport that is almost certainly related to North Korea's expanding ballistic missile program," he wrote. "A high-bay building within the facility is large enough to accommodate an elevated Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile and, therefore, the entirety of North Korea's known ballistic missile variants."
Bermudez claimed that North Korea started the construction of this facility in mid-2016 and the neew facility is located adjacent to an underground facility which is capable of fitting all known North Korean ballistic missiles, their associated launchers and support vehicles.
"Significantly, the building has a 37-meter-by-30-meter elevated center section (i.e., a high-bay) that is high enough to allow for a Hwasong-14 or Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on a TEL to be easily elevated into the firing position to allow for testing of both, as well as the training of maintenance and ground crews," the report said, referring to transporter-erector-launchers.
According to Bermudez, these characteristics send a clear message that the facility has been designed to support ballistic missile operations of North Korea.
"As such, it is another component of the North Korean ballistic missile infrastructure that has been undergoing both modernization and expansion during the past 10 years," he said.
"While the precise function of the facility is unclear," he added, "its configuration and the size of its buildings and (underground facility) indicate that it can be used for the assembly of ballistic missiles from components delivered by rail from nearby ballistic missile component factories (e.g., Tae-sung Machine Factory, Mangyongdae Light Electric Factory), accommodate all known and anticipated North Korean ballistic missiles and their transporter-erector-launchers (TEL), mobile-erector-launchers (MEL) or transporter-erectors (TE) for depot-level maintenance, storage of ballistic missiles and their transporters, or any combination of these functions."

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