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Satellite image of Guam in Kim Jong Un photo taken 6 years ago: VOA

Satellite image of Guam in Kim Jong Un photo taken 6 years ago: VOA

Posted August. 18, 2017 07:25,   

Updated August. 18, 2017 07:54

A satellite image of Guam seen in a recent photograph of Kim Jong Un inspecting the North Korean military’s Strategic Command seems to have been taken six years ago, Voice of America (VOA) reported on Thursday. Considering that the militaries normally make operational plans based on the most up-to-date information, some analysts say that North Korea’s threats to strike Guam was nothing but a bluff.

VOA cited experts as saying that the image of the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam shown in a photograph of the North Korean leader visiting the Strategic Command dates back to around 2011.

A closer look of the satellite image in the background shows greenery at the upper center -- a feature that disappeared in Google Earth images by 2012, when construction began at the site to replace the greenery with a station for military aircraft, according to the report. A tall building can be seen in the north side of the satellite image, but after 2015 the building was gone, replaced by a rectangular-shaped construction site, according to VOA. In addition, the colors of some roads connected to the runway were very different, VOA reported.

VOA said that at a time when the North warned a strike areas around Guam, its military must have the most up-to-date satellite image information to see what kinds of weapons and defense systems the U.S. airbase has. However, it was very unusual for the North to discuss a military operational plan based on such an old satellite image.

VOA quoted Nick Hansen with Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation as saying that North Korea does not have a satellite capable of taking photos and may have had no choice but to purchase satellite images from an overseas Internet website.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com