Images show North Korea launch pad halt

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SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has stopped construction on a launch pad where intercontinental-range rockets could be tested, an interruption possibly due to heavy rains and that could stall completion up to two years, according to an analysis of new satellite imagery.

Despite the setback, however, Pyongyang is also refurbishing for possible future use another existing pad at the same complex that has been used for past rocket launches, according to the analysis of Aug. 29 images provided to The Associated Press by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

While the renovations don’t mean a launch is imminent, they indicate North Korea is preparing the site for possible future rocket tests, according to the 38 North special report written by Nick Hansen.

North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, but experts don’t believe Pyongyang has yet mastered the technology needed to shrink a nuclear weapon so it can be mounted onto the tip of a long-range missile.

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