North Korea could be building artificial islands in the Yellow Sea to launch missiles and for other military applications.
Satellite Images suggest that Pyongyang has been installing military facilities on at least five artificial islands. North has converted a deserted land into strategic outposts built near the city of Sohae, a missile development and testing site about 200 kilometers North West of the capital, Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
The islands feature missile launch pads or underground silos and observation areas, which could be used by Kim Jong-un, who likes to keep a close eye on the construction and operation of military facilities.
The islands appear to be different sizes and shapes, with wide roads suitable for missile-bearing trucks leading to pale rectangular areas.
Probably heat-resistant cement, suitable for launching the intercontinental ballistic missile technology is developed at Sohae.
In Google Earth images from 2012, several of the islands look like no more than patches of sand, rock and scrubland.
North Korea’s missile launch stations are typically located in the mountains, so the positioning of these islands in the sea that is also bordered by China is unusual.
The location could be appropriate for anti-aircraft or anti-ship area denial weapons, however. If the aim is to deploy surface-to-air missiles, more infrastructure will be needed including radar and command posts.
It is also possible the facilities are for oil exploration, since the Yellow Sea is “full of oil”, North Korea expert Dr Leonid Petrov told news.com.au.
The sea has estimated reserves of billions of tonnes but a lack of collaboration between the two countries has held back the exploitation of it.
In the recent past, there were also clashes between the two countries on the Yellow Sea, when North Korea would arrest Chinese fishermen and others until their companies paid a ransom. “It could be strategic or for oil exploration,” said Dr Petrov.