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Potential liquid fuel injection detected in N. Korea, ROK-US authorities say

Potential liquid fuel injection detected in N. Korea, ROK-US authorities say

Posted August. 24, 2022 07:47,   

Updated August. 24, 2022 07:47


Intelligence agencies of both South Korea and the U.S. have reportedly spotted signs of possible liquid fuel injection in North Korea. The agencies are reinforcing surveillance on the trend by augmenting their monitoring assets as the signs may suggest potential provocation via mid-to-long-range missiles such as Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) or intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).

A series of The Dong-A Ilbo reports on Tuesday indicates that the signs suggesting liquid fuel injection have been detected by reconnaissance satellites in specific parts of North Korea from the week since Aug. 15. The signs include vehicles and personnel handling liquid fuel and a possible missile launcher. North Korea's short-range missiles including its Iskander-type KN-23 use solid fuel, which means the liquid fuel injection may indicate an IRBM or ICBM launch is imminent. U.S. reconnaissance aircrafts recently flew over the Korean Peninsula every day likely to collect further intelligence.

South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies are keeping an eye on North Korea’s possible launch of the Hwasong-12 (IRBM) or Hwasong-15 and Hwasong17 (ICBM) during the joint ROK-US military drills dubbed Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS), which started on Monday. Some suggest that North Korea may launch during the UFS drills mid-to-long-range missile aimed toward the U.S. territory of Guam, followed by its 7th nuclear test around its Day of the Foundation, which falls on September 9.

Others indicate that North Korea may conduct a ‘mid-level’ missile provocation by launching the Hwaseong-12 capable of reaching Guam before launching the ICBM, like it did back in late January this year.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com