• The Associated Press


North Korea has built an underground fueling facility near a key launchpad, a news report said Thursday, making it harder for spy satellites to detect signs that a missile is being prepared for launch.

The facility was built at the Musudan-ni missile site on North Korea’s northeastern coast either late last year or early this year, the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unidentified senior South Korean official.

The National Intelligence Service, Seoul’s top spy agency, and the Defense Ministry declined to confirm the report, citing the sensitivity of intelligence matters.

North Korea announced earlier this week that plans to send a communications satellite into orbit as part of its space program were fully under way. It did not say when the launch would take place, but recent satellite imagery showed brisk activity near the launchpad.

Neighboring powers and the United States believe the satellite launch may be a cover for a test-fire of a long-range ballistic missile.

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