Alleged satellite images of a presumed nuclear site in North Korea, captured by the space company Maxar Technologies, suggest that the country is making attempts to conceal some of its purported military facilities. The February 2021 photos, published by CNN, show a new building at the Yongdoktong site, suspected by the US to be the DPRK's nuclear weapons warehouse, at the spot where entrances into the underground complex presumably used to be.
A satellite photo of the same site from 5 December 2019 shows no signs of the building, while earlier shots from 2017 depict what looks like two entrances into the presumed underground complex hidden in the adjacent hill.
“Yongdoktong has been previously identified by US intelligence as a suspected North Korean nuclear weapons storage facility and is still believed to be used for that purpose, a US intelligence official told CNN.” https://t.co/NTxVce9ydV— Hans Kristensen (@nukestrat) March 2, 2021
The report comes as the new Biden administration is still reviewing the country's policy regarding North Korea. Several media reports suggested that the new course concerning the DPRK will be announced by the White House in the coming weeks.
It is so far unclear if Biden will try to continue the efforts initiated by the Trump administration to negotiate the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and normalise ties between the two countries. Trump became the first US president to meet with the DPRK's leader, Kim Jong-un, during a 2018 summit in Singapore. The two signed a joint statement calling for the two states to work together on security issues and on achieving lasting peace.
The US also suspended annual military exercises with South Korea, which had long sparked criticism from Pyongyang. The Singapore summit also gave an impetus to bilateral negotiations between the DPRK and South Korea aimed at normalising relations.
However, the talks between Washington and Pyongyang stalled after the unsuccessful Hanoi summit, which ended prematurely due to the DPRK's decision to abandon negotiations. Trump blamed the fiasco on the actions and statements of his National Security Adviser John Bolton, who suggested that North Korea should undergo a "Libya scenario" – rapid disarmament under pressure from the international community for promises of lifting sanctions afterwards.