Researchers in Monterey say they have proof N. Korea is expanding missile sites

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Researchers at a college in Monterey said they have proof North Korea is not only operating and expanding a known missile base, but there’s another unknown site that is also active and growing.

New satellite pictures obtained by 2 Investigates show continuous construction of a large underground facility that has been kept under wraps and located roughly seven miles away from the known Yeongjeo-dong site.

The group at Middlebury Institute of International Studies said based on its unique location, Yeongjeo-dong has long been a strong candidate to receive North Korea’s newest long-range missiles. That includes missiles capable of reaching not just California, but anywhere in the United States.

“Those missiles are being deployed at bases throughout North Korea, many of which have long been known to outside analysts,” the report stated. “One such facility is the missile base near Yeongjeo-dong.”

Despite that site being known to the U.S. intelligence community, images show in the past year, North Korea has significantly expanded to a nearby base. It’s unknown and unclear from the pictures if the two bases are separate or if they are connected underground.

These images are a direct contradiction to claims North Korea would work toward denuclearization following months on diplomatic talks between the Trump Administration and leaders in Pyongyang.

In 2000, the U.S. tried to access the Yeongjeo-dong site, which is located near the Chinese border in the mountains. Requests to visit that site and other missile sites were denied by leader Kim Jong Un, violating an agreement to end North Korea’s missile program.

Researchers were able to locate five entrances to underground tunnels they said may be used to store missiles. Additional tunnels were also found, as seen in satellite pictures, including a pair of large drive-through shelters capable of holding large ballistic missiles.

“North Korea appears to have begun to expand the base significantly, starting with the construction of a new headquarters area in 2014,” the report stated. “The layout of the new buildings bears a significant resemblance to the older headquarters area at Yeongjeo-dong.”

As of August 2018, researchers said North Korea is continuing to construct an extremely large underground facility.

U.S. officials did not immediately comment on the open-source findings by researchers.

This story was reported from Oakland