North Korea expands missile launch site

Kyodo

North Korea is expanding a missile launch site in the country’s northeast and has changed the shape of warheads to improve missile accuracy, a Seoul daily reported Tuesday.

“The North is building a new launch site designed for massive rockets in Musudan-ri,” a South Korean missile expert was quoted as telling the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, referring to the Tonghae satellite launch site in North Hamgyong Province. “They’re expanding the assembly facility there by 28 meters so that they can assemble two long-range missiles simultaneously.”

South Korean authorities believe that the new launch facility on North Korea’s east coast is bigger than its west coast missile test site in Tongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province, from which North Korea’s space rocket was launched last year, the report said.

The expert said the accuracy of the North’s missiles is likely to improve through the use of triconic instead of simple conic warheads, a change of shape that does not reduce the weight.

Triconic warheads were first used for the improved version of the Rodong missile in 2000 and are now also being used for medium- and long-range missiles, he said. Iran’s Shahab missile, which is based on the North’s Rodong missile, also has a triconic warhead, which shows connections between the two countries, the expert claimed.

In related news, the U.S. on Monday snubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s reported desire to receive a phone call from President Barack Obama as having no meaning.