January 22, 2020 Victor Cha and Dana Kim—
Ri Son-gwon is the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Korea. He is a former military official in the Korean People’s Army (KPA) and the former head of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC), the bureau in charge of inter-Korean relations.
January 14, 2020 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
A new facility in Ippul-tong is speculated to be a storage facility for ballistic missile transporter-erector-launchers (TELs), mobile-erector-launchers (MELs), or transporter-erectors (TEs). However, there is no conclusive evidence that the facility is also involved in supporting ballistic missile or weapons development activities.
December 19, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
The Chamjin-ni vertical engine test stand appears to be minimally maintained but apparently capable and available for engine testing at any time.
It is North Korea’s oldest known test stand, developed in the 1980s. There is no evidence of recent tests. This is indicated by the absence of scarring in the exhaust deflector and color-infrared imagery showing healthy vegetation at the end of the exhaust deflector.
December 19, 2019—
This Living History interview features Shin Kak-soo, former South Korean ambassador to Japan (2011-2013). Ambassador Shin reflects on the complexities of Korea’s relations with its neighbor Japan. He provides an overview of how entrenched partisan politics can prevent the successful resolution of crises between these two key U.S. allies.
December 17, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
As with Beyond Parallel’s December 4 report, satellite imagery of the Sinpo South Shipyard collected on December 14, 2019 does not provide any indication of the launch of the much anticipated “newly built submarine” or preparations for the shipyard’s test stand. The only observation of significance at the shipyard is the presence of a 16-METER class midget submarine (SSW) moored alongside the barely visible submersible missile test stand barge in the shipyard’s secure boat basin.
December 17, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
While speculation (sometimes wild) continues to grow concerning a North Korean end-of-year “surprise,” Beyond Parallel is continuing its recent series of surveys of the North’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) facilities to determine if there are any new developments. It is our desire to provide objective and factual information to enable decision-makers, policymakers and the general public to better understand the important aspects of the threat posed by North Korea and provide assistance to all in arriving at calm and informed decisions. Our recent surveys include the Sinpo South Shipyard, Sohae Satellite Launching Station, Nampo Submersible Test Stand Barge and Magunpo Solid Rocket Motor Test Stand.
December 13, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
The Magunpo Solid Rocket Motor Test Facility is located a few kilometers west of the Hamhung-Hungnam area and along the east coast of North Korea. December 6 imagery shows minor activity at the facility, including the presence of a small truck and some crates. Although no recent test appears to have taken place (i.e., absence of scarring in the exhaust deflector and healthy surrounding vegetation), the facility appears to be well-maintained and ready for solid rocket motor testing at any time.
A successful test of solid fuel propellant engine, particularly at the east test stand, would denote another major advancement in survivable nuclear weapons capability, and would presumably also be designed to put additional pressure on the U.S. to make concessions in negotiations.
December 11, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
On December 7, North Korea conducted what it described as a “…very important test at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground.” Satellite imagery in the days leading up to and after the test clearly shows that this was a rocket engine test at the vertical engine test stand at Sohae. This test was most probably of a liquid-fuel rocket engine as only liquid-fuel rocket engines have previously been tested here, while large solid rocket motors have been tested at the Magunpo Solid Rocket Motor Test Facility on the east coast and elsewhere. Whether the liquid-fuel rocket engine was an existing model or a new one is unknown.
November 26, 2019 Victor Cha, Eric Falcon and Bryce Pedersen—
Predata signals suggest a significant perception gap emerging between the U.S. and South Korea. First, South Koreans are more focused on the financial burden of the U.S. military presence than on the positive security benefits it provides. Second, U.S. demands for $5 billion in cost-sharing are generating the highest ever levels of social media and video commentary critical of U.S. forces in Korea.
November 19, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Marie DuMond—
Antiquated facilities, equipment, and processes, together with the continual plague of electricity shortages, will hinder any dramatic production increases of magnesite at North Korea's Taehung Youth Hero Mine... The Taehung Youth Hero Mine "has established the Juche orientation in the production of fireproof…
November 14, 2019 Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Dana Kim—
Recent satellite imagery from November 2019 shows the presence of four specialized railcars that have been associated with the movement of radioactive material in the past. The last observed movement of these railcars by Beyond Parallel was in April 2019. It is unclear whether the railcars are being used for the outbound shipment of irradiated liquid or solid waste, disassembled but contaminated equipment or the movement of fissile material to facilities outside the Yongbyon area. A less likely alternative is the inbound shipment of radioactive material from a facility outside the Yongbyon area.
November 13, 2019—
This Living History interview features former South Korean minister of foreign affairs and trade, Song Min-soon. Song was director general for North American affairs and chief delegate during the six-party talks in 2005. He played a key role in the multilateral denuclearization agreement with North Korea, involving the United States, Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia, achieved in September 2005.
November 1, 2019 Sue Mi Terry—
For Halloween, Kim Jong Un gave Donald Trump a trick, not a treat: North Korea fired two short-range missiles on Thursday toward the Sea of Japan. It was North Korea’s 13th weapons test this year—and the first since the Trump administration’s latest attempt to restart negotiations with North Korea quietly failed a few weeks ago. The first talks between the two sides in eight months broke down after only 8½ hours in Stockholm. The North Korean delegates stalked out, and Pyongyang subsequently said they wouldn’t resume the “sickening” negotiations with the U.S.
October 17, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Analysis of satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility acquired during 2019 and more specifically on September 23rd and October 9th, 2019 shows the facility in caretaker status, likely being maintained by security personnel. While there is no evidence of current efforts to restore any of the nuclear test portals, several observations lead us to believe the facility has not been permanently disabled and that the detonations in May 2018 are not necessarily irreversible.
October 9, 2019 Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Dana Kim—
The October 2, 2019 Pukguksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test launch has raised concerns over the forthcoming launch of North Korea’s first true ballistic missile submarine (SSB) as described in the Beyond Parallel Snapshot, which was published the same day.
October 2, 2019 Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Dana Kim—
Around 7:11 am on October 2 (KST), North Korea launched what may have been a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from waters northeast of the Wonsan, Kangwon Province area into the sea between Korea and Japan. The last Beyond Parallel report on the Sinpo South Shipyard indicated the possibility of ongoing preparations for a launch.
September 25, 2019 Joseph Bermudez—
Collected eleven months after the image provided in Part 4 (December 10, 1967) this November 21, 1968 KH-4B image of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center does not show any significant developments in the operations (with the IRT-2000 research reactor), support or administrative/laboratory areas. It does, however, show continuing development within the village of Sang-dong and the early stages of construction for a new road bridge across the Kuryong-gang in the Pungang-ni area that will connect the support area to the opposite side of the river. Taken as a whole, these developments represent both continuation of a first-phase construction project for the facility and the earliest infrastructure development stages within a longer-term plan for future expansion.
September 6, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
New CSIS Beyond Parallel imagery shows the undeclared Kumchon-ni missile operating base. This is the first comprehensive public description of the base. During wartime, it is reportedly tasked with striking southern Japan and, to a lesser degree, throughout South Korea.
August 28, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
New Beyond Parallel imagery (August 26, 2019) of Sinpo South Shipyard suggests circumstantial evidence of the construction of a new ballistic missile submarine and preliminary evidence indicates possible preparations for a test... New Beyond Parallel imagery (August 26, 2019) of Sinpo South Shipyard suggests circumstantial evidence of…
August 22, 2019 Victor Cha—
The South Korean government announcement of its intention not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) represents escalation of the Japan-Korea dispute after each side removed the other from preferential trading arrangements (so-called "whitelists").
August 21, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
The Pakchon Uranium Concentrate Pilot Plant is one of only two declared and known uranium concentrate plants in North Korea (Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant at Pyongsan is the other). This facility was used for Yellowcake production at least through the mid-1990s, and therefore would require inspection under any new U.S.-DPRK denuclearization declaration and agreement as it has not been subject to international inspection for over 25 years since IAEA visits to the site as part of the Full Scope Safeguards Agreement process in 1992.
August 16, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Ryongyang Mine is the largest magnesite mine in North Korea and one of the largest in the world. However, satellite and ground imagery show the infrastructure and technology in use at the mines is dated and obsolete when compared to world standards.
August 2, 2019 Victor Cha and Dana Kim—
Three projectile launches, all within the past eight days, demonstrate North Korea’s intention to perfect its short-range strike capabilities, guidance systems, and solid fuel development... North Korea conducted three separate tests that launched two projectiles each on July 25 (KN-23…
July 22, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Satellite imagery shows that the new Namyang-Tumen road bridge connecting North Hamgyong province in North Korea with China is nearing completion and could be open to traffic as early as the end of 2019... Satellite imagery shows that the new Namyang-Tumen road bridge connecting North Hamgyong province in North…
July 19, 2019 Robert King—
At a press conference last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of a Commission on Unalienable Rights. He explained its purpose: “The commission is composed of human rights experts, philosophers, and activists, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents of varied background and beliefs, who will provide me with advice on human rights grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The membership of the commission is a distinguished and diverse group of individuals, but the responsibility assigned to the commission seems to raise questions.
July 18, 2019 Joseph Bermudez—
Acquired almost two years after the image provided in Yongbyon Declassified Part III (February 11, 1966), this December 10, 1967 image of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center is one of the first acquired by the improved reconnaissance KH-4B. Among other improvements, the resolution of the newer KH-4B was 1.8 meters versus 2.7 meters of the earlier KH-4A allowing for considerably better image quality.
July 2, 2019 Victor Cha and Joseph Bermudez—
As the first sitting president in U.S. history to step into North Korea, Donald Trump’s action could be seen as a significant representation of the U.S. intention eventually to conclude a peace treaty... As the first sitting president in U.S. history to step into North Korea, Donald Trump’s…
June 20, 2019 Joseph Bermudez—
Acquired seven months after the image provided in Yongbyon Declassified Part II (August 23, 1965) this 2.7-meter resolution image covers the Yongbyon area on February 11, 1966. While the general area remains primarily engaged in agricultural activity typical of rural North Korea during the 1960s, significant construction activity is observed at the nascent Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center and adjacent village of Sang-dong.
June 20, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Satellite imagery of the No. 112 Factory (sometimes identified as the January 12th Factory) located in Kusong, North Pyongan suggests that North Korea is constructing a monument memorializing its first successful Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) launch on May 14, 2017.
May 29, 2019 Robert King—
Kim Jong-un has inserted himself squarely into the U.S. presidential campaign. Ambassador Robert R. King discusses the implications of the recent article by the Korean Central News Agency criticizing former vice president Joe Biden. .. Kim Jong-un has inserted himself squarely into the U.S. presidential campaign with the publication of…
May 9, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Located 150 kilometers north of the DMZ, North Korea's Yusang-ni missile operating base is one of the more recently constructed Strategic Force missile operating bases. There has been almost no open source information about this base until this study.
April 18, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
April 15 railcar movement observed in Airbus satellite imagery at North Korea's Yongbyon facility provides no further understanding concerning the presence of these specialized railcars other that their probable use for the movement of radioactive material.
April 16, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
DigitalGlobe satellite imagery of North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Research Facility acquired on April 12th shows the presence of five specialized railcars near the Uranium Enrichment Facility and the Radiochemistry Laboratory.
In the past these specialized railcars appear to have been associated with the movement of radioactive material or reprocessing campaigns.
April 10, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
On the eve of President Trump’s summit with ROK president Moon Jae-in, commercial satellite imagery acquired on April 7 shows that, although not conclusive, North Korea may be preparing for a parade to honor Kim Il-sung’s birthday (April 15) or KPA Foundation Day (April 25).
March 25, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Satellite imagery acquired on March 21, 2019 and over the past six months indicates that the No. 17 Explosives Factory near Hamhung is active. While no significant changes have occurred with its infrastructure during this period, the factory was expanded during 2012 with the construction of a large mixing/casting facility capable of producing large solid-propellant rocket motors for ballistic missiles.
March 9, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Commercial satellite imagery acquired on both March 6 and March 8, 2019, shows that North Korea has continued preparations on the launch pad and the vertical engine test stand at the Sohae Launch Facility. Based on past practices, these activities could be consistent with preparations for the delivery of a rocket to the launch pad or engine to the test stand; or, they could be North Korean coercive bargaining tactics after the failed Hanoi summit.
March 7, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Commercial satellite imagery acquired March 6, 2019—four days after the previous image—shows that North Korea has essentially completed the rebuilding of both the rail-mounted transfer transfer/processing structure on the launch pad and the vertical engine at the Sohae Launch Facility.
March 5, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Commercial satellite imagery acquired on March 2, 2019, shows that North Korea is pursuing a rapid rebuilding of Sohae (Tongchang-ri) Launch Facility at both the vertical engine test stand and the launch pad’s rail-mounted rocket transfer structure.
February 26, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
Prior to the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, Beyond Parallel undertook a brief satellite imagery survey of other major North Korean WMD facilities to determine if there were any new developments... On the eve of the second summit meeting between President Trump and the North Korean…
February 15, 2019 Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Lisa Collins—
Located 250 kilometers north of the DMZ, Sangnam-ni missile operating base is an operational missile base that houses a battalion- or regiment-sized unit equipped with Hwasong-10 (Musudan) intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM). Multiple flight failures of the Musudan missile in 2016 could have also led the KPA Strategic Force to abandon the system and replace it with the more successful Hwasong-12 IRBM.
January 21, 2019 Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Lisa Collins—
Located 212 kilometers north of the DMZ, Sino-ri is an operational missile base that houses a regiment-sized unit equipped with Nodong-1/-2 medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM). It is one of the oldest of approximately 20 undeclared missile operating bases and is reported to serve as the headquarters of the Strategic Rocket Forces Nodong missile brigade. It may have also played a role in development of the newest generation Pukkuksong-2 (KN-15) ballistic missile first tested or unveiled by North Korea on February 12, 2017.
January 7, 2019 Victor Cha, Joseph Bermudez and Marie DuMond—
Should inter-Korean cooperation result in the re-connection of the railways in North and South Korea, the rail networks of the Korean peninsula could then be integrated into a rail network spanning the Eurasian continent through China and Russia. If actualized, this would mark a significant diplomatic and geopolitical accomplishment for the Korean peninsula. Nonetheless, a long and significant modernization process will need to take place to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way.
November 12, 2018 Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Lisa Collins—
Sakkanmol is an undeclared North Korean operational missile base for short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and is one of approximately 20 undeclared missile sites and one of the closest to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and Seoul, giving it the shortest flight time. Sakkanmol currently houses a unit equipped with SRBMs but could easily accommodate more capable medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs).
November 12, 2018 Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Lisa Collins—
New research undertaken by Beyond Parallel has located 13 of an estimated 20 North Korean missile operating bases that are undeclared by the government. These missile operating bases, which can be used for all classes of ballistic missile from short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) up to and including intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), would presumably have to be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal.
November 6, 2018 Robert King—
During the last two and a half decades, one of the key North Korean humanitarian and human rights issues has been citizens of the North who choose to leave and flee to China... During the last two and a half decades, one of the key North Korean humanitarian…
September 19, 2018 Joseph Bermudez and Marie DuMond—
Enforcement of international sanctions on North Korean seafood should be expected, therefore, to have an impact on both North Korea’s baseline fisheries earnings and the expected future return on the regime’s investment of resources and strategic effort in this modernization project.
December 27, 2019 Victor Cha—
Christmas passed without the threatened “Christmas gift” from North Korea. President Trump quipped while on holiday in Mar-a-Lago that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might send him a “beautiful vase” rather than a missile as a gift. In either event, the two years of summit diplomacy and Trump-Kim “bromance” appears to have reached a turning point with no progress on denuclearization since the failed Hanoi summit and a series of North Korean missile tests in the past two months.
December 20, 2019—
The CSIS Beyond Parallel team compiled an original database of all North Korean provocations since the Korean War in 1953, beginning with the first provocation documented in 1958. There has been more than 280 instances of provocations, including from missile and nuclear tests, airplane hijackings, bombings, exchange of fire, to infiltration and territorial incursions into South Korea.
December 14, 2019 Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha—
The submersible test stand barge located at the Nampo Naval Shipyard on the west coast of North Korea is likely capable of conducting a SLBM test launch at any time... The submersible test stand barge located at the Nampo Naval Shipyard on the west coast…